Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Vagn HOLMBOE (1909-1996)
Recorder Concerto (1974)
Flute Concerto No. 1 (1976)
Flute Concerto No. 2 (1982)
Dan Laurin (recorder)
Manuela Wiesler (flute)
Aalborg SO/Owain Arwel Hughes
rec Sept 1997, Aalborg DDD
BIS-CD-911 [62.11]

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Dan Laurin's spirited way with the soprano, alto and sopranino recorders lights up the Recorder Concerto a work already illuminated by icy cold string writing. The hiccuping solo writing cannot help but invoke recall of the Nielsen flute concerto. Memorable incidents are plentiful; I single out the optimistic piping and the fey chase with celesta and vibraphone. Put behind you any thoughts of school recorder bands. Dan Laurin sweeps such dullard heresy away amid some of the sweetest and most unsentimental of writing.

The first of Holmboe's pair of Flute Concertos starts with that typical double and triple blow impact which also lends an imperious air to the Cello Concerto. Holmboe casts a mysterious oriental cloak over the capricious reflections especially in the finale. Fast forward only six years to the Second Concerto and Holmboe permits himself writing in a much more direct language. In both flute works the music patters and chimes in the second movement. The celesta dance at 1.03 in the magical andante devozione of No. 2 recalls the 'music box' moments from Malcolm Arnold's Fifth Symphony.

The star here is the thoroughly grown up Recorder Concerto but the Flute Concertos have powers to charm and shiver.

Unlike the brass concertos all three works are products of the period 1974 to 1982.

The usual un-gauzed BIS recording quality makes an unglamorous but true-hearted advocate for the music.

Rob Barnett

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