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Ib NØRHOLM (b.1931)
Hearing Andersen - Symphonic Fantasy (1987) [27.18]
The Shadow - Suite (1974) [12.51]
Symphony No. 5 The Elements (1980) [29.01]
Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra/Michael Schønwandt (Andersen), Tamás Vetö (Shadow), Jan Latham-Koenig (Symphony)
rec. Danish Radio, 1987, 1974, 1984. DDD, ADD
KONTRAPUNKT 32005 [69.29]

Nørholm, like Niels Viggo Bentzon, is a native of Copenhagen. He studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music 1950-56 and spent some tme as a music critic before becoming organist at Bethlehems Church, Copenhagen. He has written various works around the writings of Hans Christian Andersen. The six movement symphonic fantasy Hearing Andersen is drawn from his music for  Danish TV commission for a score to a TV producton of The Shepherdess and the Chimney Sweep. This is lightly dissonant but certainly not dodecaphonic. Rather than writing within a method Nørholm moves quite freely from almost Tchaikovskian fantasy to the dissonantly macabre often making very great play of solo instrumental lines. There are many melodramatic gestures along the way as in the riushing and skittering Postlude. While Hearing Andersen can be pretty tough going especially after the first movement, the four movement Shadow (another Andersen piece) is much more accessible in a style comparable with Ravel's Ma Mere l'Oye yet surreal and in the case of The Triumph of The Shadow macabre and ruffianly with percussion cannonades and caustic Weill-like march fragments. The Fifth Symphony is in four movements depicting the elements of air, earth, fire and water. This is pretty uncompromising stuff on the same rhapsodic-phantasmagoric limb as Frankel's symphonies. Conflict rends the world in the finale which is rife with drum assaults and the savagery of the brass offset with some extremely imaginative ‘tse-tse’ buzzing and squeaking for the solo violin.

The notes are by Mogens Andersen and the composer.

Nørholm in uncompromising dodecaphonic robes for the symphony but less so in the two imaginative suites.

Rob Barnett



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