Anders KOPPEL (b.1947)
Sinfonia Concertante for violin, viola, clarinet and bassoon and orchestra (2007) [24:01]
Concerto for flute, harp and orchestra (1998, 2009) [23:24]
Concerto for tuba and orchestra (2003) [22:34]
Anna Maria D Dahl (viola), Yana Deshkova (violin), Randi Ostergaard (clarinet), Sheila Popkin (bassoon), Matthias Johansson (tuba), Claud Ettrup Larsen (flute), Mette Nielsen (harp)
Aalborg Symphony Orchestra/Matthias Aeschbacher
rec. Symphonien Denmark, 22-26 June 2009, 23-24 June 2010. DDD
DACAPO 8.226052 [69:50]

I hope that Anders Koppel will forgive me for starting with a reminder to readers that he is the son of another Danish composer Herman Koppel (1908-1998). Anders, naturally enough has his own voice - one seemingly borne of his early immersion in rock and world music. He was the leading light in the groups Savage Rose and Bazaar.

His Sinfonia Concertante paints, in tapestry affluence, with rills and chuckles of sound suggesting Rubens' exuberance. His sentimentality and tango-like seduction in the middle movement is not marred by a blush. A conspiratorial tension casts a benevolent enchantment over the finale. The music looks back to the wind serenades of Mozart and Strauss but with a curdling Herrmann-like angst.

One expects a Concerto for flute and harp to be inclined to sultry Gallic dreamscapes. So it proves with Koppel's example. He is no producer of facsimiles but the style-set owes something to Fauré and Debussy. The maenads and satyrs loll in a sybaritic idyll and the reminiscences are around Ravel's Septet and Debussy's Danses Sacrés et Danses Profanes. Darker hues predominate in the third movement while the finale appears to represent a blessed fantasy-land of quiet chimes, flute curvets and flights. The harp's fragile tracery is dotted with supernatural quiet Penderecki-like upward wails.

The Tuba Concerto is about the same duration as the other two. Koppel is never wordy or windy. He has something to say and knows the optimum span over which to say it. The tuba is the diffident serenader musing his way through the Straussian diaphanous threads. Indeed there is something of Rosenkavalier in this. The piece ends in supernatural stillness.

The performances are outstanding as is the audio dimension and the notes by Esben Tange are models of their sort. Wonderful music-making. I hope to hear further from this Koppel and would not be at all upset to be invited to review more by this gifted artist.

Rob Barnett

Outstanding ... wonderful music. I hope to hear more from Anders Koppel ... and soon.