Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Music Webmaster Len Mullenger:

Complete works for solo piano
Piano Sonata in G minor (1915)
Sou'Wester, Sweater and Shag (1932)
Two Fantastic Etudes (1914)
Three Pieces
Rhapsodic Piece (1913)
Tove Lønskov (piano)
rec 1999-2000

Poul Schierbeck was of that generation of Nielsen-shadowed composers who have had to struggle to attain any real recognition. Nielsen's open air individuality all but obliterated several generations. None of this was Nielsen's fault but we need to understand that much as Britain had its Elgar and Vaughan Williams eclipsing Bax, Moeran, Foulds, Holbrooke so Nielsen stood in the light of Louis Glass and Poul Schierbeck, to name only two.

Most of the piano music dates from his early manhood. The Sonata is in three movements with the first shaken by Rachmaninov's storm clouds and a lyrical river derived from idioms recognisable from Brahms and Tchaikovsky. There is respite from the struggle in the cradling lento. The five 'maritime sketches' are the only works here to be written later in life (1932). They are dark, rugged, choppy - as befits the evocative title. I thought of Skarbo, Le Gibet and Gnomenreigen. The ironclad Ocean Lullaby could easily partner the saltspray of Malcolm Macdonald's still too little known Hebridean sea-scenes and Nystroem's Iskavet. Perhaps not too much of a stone's throw would take you to Britten's East Anglian coastline. You can easily imagine this music accompanying a reading of Erskine Childers' 'The Riddle of the Sands.' The Accordion finale anchors this suite in uncomplicated humanity.

The Two Fantastic Studies take us back to a cliff-top 'soup' of Lisztian Mephisto and Medtnerian Skazki. Their titles add representative flavour - Darkness and Night Wind. The Intermezzo and the two Vals movements from Three Pieces are delicate essays - Schierbeck out of Chopin. The Mazurka emulates the harp in genteel courtliness (3.45) swelled with grander emotions. The Rhapsodic Piece sounds like a Handelian cross between the popular Percy Grainger (himself fond of things Danish) and Brahms.

Lønskov is a most sensitive artist - technique aplenty alongside a responsive approach and attention to dynamic contrast. I rate her extremely highly. The natural piano sound achieved by Nils Winther contributes greatly to a most favourable impression.

Rob Barnett

If in difficulties getting the disc it can be obtained in the UK direct from Discovery at:

Discovery Records Ltd
phone 01672 563931
fax 01672 563934  
or from Kontrapunkt at

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