”It was meant as a joke” said the Danish composer Knudåge Riisager of the ballet Benzin which was premiered at the Royal Danish Theatre in 1928. But it turned out to be a bad joke. The ballet was performed only three times – and has not been staged ever since.
Maybe it was the plot starring a motorcyclist who runs out of petrol and makes a pass on the girl who is keeping him company while her boyfriend runs to get some fresh supplies. Maybe the stage decorations by the popular Danish cartoonist known as Storm P did not meet people's expectations for a Royal Theatre ballet staging. Or maybe Riisager's music was simply too beautiful to be funny.
This brilliant premiere recording of Knudåge Riisager's music for Benzin as well as two other ballet scores Archæopteryx and Apollon demonstrates the composer's unique talent for colourful and intelligent orchestral writing which recalls the spells of early 20th Century symphonic music at its best.Knudåge RiisagerBenzin op. 17 (1928)
1 Ouverture 4:05 2 I. Pastorale 4:12 3 II. Høstdans 2:31 4 III. Træskodans 4:09 5 IV. Prokuratoren 5:12 6 V. Marcia funebre 1:18 7 VI. Fanfare 0:18 8 VII. Cykeldans 1:43 9 VIII. Fiskerdans 2:31 10 IX. Ved benzintanken 2:53 11 X. Rivalerne 6:06 12 XI. Forsoningen 2:24 13 XII. Vægteren 1:48 14 XIII. Månen 3:41Knudåge RiisagerArchæopteryx for orchestra op. 51 (1949) 15 Archæopteryx for orchestra op. 51 (1949) 16:47Knudåge RiisagerTo Apollon, God of Light (1930) 16 To Apollon, God of Light (1930) 10:34