Danacord continue their dogged pursuit of a programme to reissue
all the viable private recordings made by and for the Danish
composer Herman D Koppel.
The first disc of the present set is taken up with the Requiem
cradles five Old Testament stories across 12 separately tracked
sections. This is sternly serious music with the protesting declamatory
defiance and wailing dissenting "look and feel" of
Schoenberg's Moses and Aaron
. Try the Kain und Abel
(tr. 7). The conventional elements of the Requiem
missing. The sound is healthy enough if lacking great weight
and is certainly enjoyable. The primeval power of the piece is
unmistakable - it recalls the darker apocalyptic calamities of
Schmidt's Book of the Seven Seals
. This returns in fire
and flames in the final Psalm section. There’s no reassurance
here just staring into the eye of whirling destruction. However
there is tenderness of a sort as in the chilly reassurance given
in Psalm (tr. 9). Hesitant applause greets the final tempest
The sung German text for the Requiem is in the booklet but there
is no translation into any other language.
The second disc sets out four shorter orchestral works. The op.
has something of the springy lyricism of Tippett's Concerto
for Double String Orchestra
. There’s just a hint of
Northern European reserve even in the effervescently joyous finale
with its pre-echoes of Wirén. This work would make a wonderful
partner to the Wirén Serenade.
The Op. 66 Concertino
from 1957 and is again characterised by dignity, a regretful
elegiac manner and an overarching serious mien. This is only
cast off in the pizzicato finale which darts off with abandon.
The Oboe Concerto
is in wonderful sound. It is a pleasure
to encounter this work in a recording by the dedicatee and first
soloist for the piece. It is a work of darting angular athleticism
and vaunting mercurial playfulness. The note-writer claims that
the third (of four) movements is reminiscent in its hypnotic
spell of Lady Macbeth's sleepwalking music in Koppel's opera Macbeth
Finally comes the op. 83 Concertino
. This work inhabits
a similar sound-world to op. 82. It reminded me somewhat of the
reserved singing quality of the Fricker Violin Concerto. It is
the most dissonant and least accessible of the concertos here
not that it is all that
thorny. At moments it launches
out into an access of the romantic expression that lies close
to the instrument's heart and core.
The booklet is the usual polished and professional Danacord product
with profiles of the works and the various artists.
The next volume in this rewarding series comprises one work -
the epic oratorio Moses
op. 76 (1963-64) on DACOCD573-574.
It was the work that preceded the Requiem
Volume 6 is a valuable addition in the pilgrimage to document
the music of Herman D Koppel. Would that all composers could
receive similar regal treatment.
Previous releases in this series on Danacord
v1: DACOCD561-562 Piano and orchestra
v2: DACOCD563-564 Solo Piano
v3: DACOCD565-566 Chamber Music
v4: DACOCD567-568 Vocal Music (see review
v5: DACOCD569-570 Piano Concertos (see review