One of the most grown-up review sites around

2021
54,514 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

 

paid for
advertisements



TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


FOGHORN Classics


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


New Releases

Naxos Classical


Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage



Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


 

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from
 

Thomas ADÈS (b. 1971)
Arcadiana (1994) [19:14]
Per NØRGÅRD (b. 1932)
Quartetto Breve/String Quartet No. 1 (1952) [7:15]
Hans ABRAHAMSEN (b. 1952)
10 Preludes/String Quartet No. 1 (1973) [20:27]
Danish String Quartet (Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen, Frederik Øland (violins), Asbjørn Nørgaard (viola), Fredrik Sjölin (cello))
rec. May 2015, Reitstadel Neumarkt in der Opferplatz
ECM NEW SERIES 2453 [46:55]

This is the award-winning Danish String Quartet’s first recording for ECM and is an intriguing one, taking on a triptych of works by Danish and British composers all written when they were just into their 20s.

Thomas Adès’s Arcadiana comes to represent this youthful aspect of these works in Paul Griffiths’ booklet essay, “our own Arcadians, our direct ancestors who knew how to sing” being the connection between the past whether ancient or recent. Adès’s work is a slippery customer, teasing our ears with little references to past styles, quoting directly or indirectly or challenging us with gestures that seem to express wit and charm but never cheapen the seriousness or intensity of the music in general. We hear moments from a Schubert song, or a reference to The Magic Flute, but the journey is a distinct and personal one. The penultimate movement of the seven, O Albion, is a beautiful and expressively eloquent moment of reflection in an atmosphere through which the spirit of Mahler is allowed to peek.

Per Nørgård’s Quartetto Breve comes from a time in which Sibelius was still a living presence, and avant-garde modernism had yet to permeate the Danish music scene. Nørgård’s teacher was Vagn Holmboe, and there are echoes of the master’s transparent tonalities and sparing textures in the student’s first string quartet, combined with the models of Bartók in the more gritty Allegro risoluto second of two movements.

Nørgård was to become teacher to Hans Abrahamsen, whose 10 Preludes open with a rush of high tones and a promise of tensile intensity, but which also soon brings in elements of almost naïve simplicity and the influence of American minimalism without becoming ‘minimalist’ as such. Ostinato patterns serve as material for development or as accompaniment to the working out of moire primary ideas, and though while few of these movements provide an ‘easy ride’ their explorations of accessible motifs always offer a fascinating journey into intellect and imagination.

The Danish String Quartet already has an extensive history of musical collaboration amongst its members, and has received wide acclaim for its concert performances, recordings of Nielsen and others. This ECM recording is very much up to the label’s fine standards, meeting the impeccable technique and finely honed musicianship of the quartet. Short playing time may be an issue for some, but for modern and enjoyably demanding quartet repertoire this is an excellent place to visit.

Dominy Clements
 


 

 



Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

 

Recordings of the Month

January


Linda BUCKLEY
From Ocean’s Floor

December


Conner Riddle Songs


Rodzinski Sibelius


Of Innocence and Experience

November


Symphonies 1, 2, 3