Niels Viggo BENTZON (191-2000)
Anker Blyme (piano)
rec Birkerod Jan/May 2000
DANACORD DACOCD 531
UK Amazon US
Niels Viggo Bentzon died in the year 2000.
He was an estimable composer of serious inclination, fluent articulation
and profusely productive (there are more than 24 symphonies and at least
seven piano concertos). It is regrettable that his music never travelled
much beyond the bounds of his native Denmark. Ole Schmidt conducted his
symphonies 3 (24 August 1979), 4 (15 April 1981) and 5 (30 August 1979) with,
respectively the BBCSO, BBC Scottish and BBC Northern. Otherwise you may
well know him only from the Turnabout LP of his Symphonic Variations.
Anker Blyme gives signs of being an authoritative interpreter. He has worked
with Bentzon on many occasions and recorded Bentzon's two piano music with
the composer. Blyme has also recorded four of the seven piano concertos.
Bentzon was himself a pianistic of great technical and artistic resource
and perception. He was much in demand and gave the premiere of Holmboe's
Suono da Bardo - one of the foundation stones of Danish and European
20th century music. The Bentzon Toccata, contemporaneous with
Suono is a virtuoso piece not so much because of the tempo rather
because of its block-shouldered awkwardness. This rock-hewn angularity carries
over into the Partita which, in its five movements, traces its way
through varied landscapes. Over its contours is atomised jazz idiom, Schoenberg's
Five Pieces (but emotionally far from the German's parataxis), as
well as a notably Bachian élan. In the Fanfare Bentzon conveys
an imposing majesty without hubris. The ten movement Woodcut is in
much the same language with perhaps less of Schoenberg and with a playful
impulse and sense of forward movement. The tempo pesante has a gruff
expressivity. This sequence overall represents a miniature counterpart to
Pictures From An Exhibition. Kaleisdoskop is tetchy, touched
with dissonance (more so than the other pieces) - a ballade for a world all
too knowing of tragedy.
This is challenging music and if you like it then also try Bentzon's massive
(13 CD) piano sequence Det Temperede Klaver recorded by composer in
a very substantial box set from ClassicO. By comparison with Blyme's Holmboe
Danacord disc (which must be had for its Suono da Bardo - recorded
for the second time by Blyme) this one speaks in a much more consistent language.
Bentzon is serious, dissonant but never evasive, perhaps somewhat influenced
by Shostakovich, daring and uncompromising. He is very well served by Anker
Blyme and by Danacord's technical team.
If in difficulty by all means contact the UK distributors:
Discovery Records Ltd
phone 01672 563931
fax 01672 563934
or Danacord via their website at www.danacord.dk