Danish Salon Music
Con Sordino (Bjarne E Hansen and Carl Sjöberg (violins), Søren Friis (cello), Poul Find (double-bass), Inke Kesseler (piano))
rec. 2008, The Carl Nielsen Academy of Music, Odense.
Full contents at end of review

Those who collect the splendid Guild series “The Golden Age of Light Music” may be forgiven for thinking that the age in question lies wholly in the past. Enjoyable as it is to look back at these older recordings the present disc makes it very clear that the appropriate style of playing and arrangement is far from dead and also that there are whole groups of very accomplished light music composers awaiting exploration. Only one of the composers on this disc – Jacob Gade, who wrote the “Tango Jalousie” in 1925 – is well known outside Denmark. All of the twenty other composers represented here were contemporaries from the first half of the twentieth century. When it is apparent that each wrote much other music it becomes clear that Con Sordino could continue this exploration over many future discs.

I certainly hope that they will, as the standard of playing and music here is amazingly high. Three members of the quintet, which was founded in 1987, play in the Odense Symphony Orchestra, but no other information is given. They have the style of this music to perfection, playing with affection, tenderness, bounce and crispness as required in arrangements by the group’s cellist, Søren Friis. I suspect that the success of several items is largely the result of the arrangement rather than the original composition, but no matter, it is their success here which largely concerns the listener. As is normal in such music, the titles indicate the genre and character of each piece (although I have no idea of the reason for the title of Poul Olsen’s “The Jumpers”). I am loath to mention individual pieces when the overall standard is so high, but the Merry Intermezzo of Eric Rostrup Bøyesen, the Ave Maria of Hugo Gyldmark and the Rococo Menuet of Christian Danning particularly charmed me last time I listened to the disc. Next time I suspect that I will fall for different items, but there is really not a single item that I did not enjoy here.

The recording is clear in a well chosen acoustic, and despite the cover picture of a salon orchestra playing to diners in a crowded restaurant there are none of the noises or distractions to enjoyment that must have been normal when this music was first performed. This is a disc that should be in the collection of every lover of light or salon music. I very much hope that Con Sordino will continue to mine these rich and, to me at least, unexpected veins.

John Sheppard

Should be in the collection of every lover of light or salon music.

Full Contents
Lystigt Intermezzo (Merry Intermezzo) - Eric Rostrup Bøyesen (1915-1998) [2:06]
Til hende (For her) – Eilert Lindorff-Larsen (1902-1983) [4:21]
Tango Barcarole – Georges Ravn (1900-1972) & Poul Werner (1898-1988) [4:18]
Drømmende læber (Dreaming lips) – Jens Warny (1893-1979) [3:15]
Lille Wienermarch (Little Viennese March) – Franz Heinz (Christian Thomsen) (1904-1971) [2:53]
Rococo Menuet – Christian Danning (1876-1925) [2:04]
Romance – Fini Henriques (1867-1940) [2:28]
Ni plus ni moins (Neither more nor less) – Kai Mortensen 1908-1989) [3:04]
Ave Maria – Hugo Gyldmark (1899-1971) [4:41]
Canzonetta – Jacob Gade (1879-1963) [3:51]
Livets glæder (The pleasures of life) – Emil Reesen (1887-1964) [2:41]
Den allersidste dans (The very last dance) – Kai Normann Andersen (1900-1967) [3:40]
Radio Tango – Aage Jersholt (1896-1964) [2:21]
La Plata –Paso doble - José Ramondano (Harold Mortensen) (1897-1970) [2:48]
Jeg plukker fløjlgræs (Picking velvet grass) – Knud Van Thomsen (1905-1971) [2:32]
Pizzicato Intermezzo – Carl Rydahl (1888-1960) [3:17]
Crazy Fiddle – Pete Alman (Peter Deutsch) (1901-1965) [2:30]
En vals blev født i Wien (A waltz was born in Vienna) – Ewald Boilesen (1913-1986) [4:30]
Springfyrene (The jumpers) – Poul Olsen (1920-1987) [2:24]
Matador – Bent Fabricius-Bjerre (b1924) [2:54]