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HOLMBOE, V.: Viola Concerto / Violin Concerto No. 2 / Concerto for Orchestra (Heide, Tomter, Norrkoping Symphony, Slobodeniouk)


Dacapo 6.220599

   Ionarts, January 2014
   MusicWeb International, December 2013
   Ionarts, November 2013
   Fanfare, November 2013
   Fanfare, November 2013
   Fanfare, November 2013
   The WholeNote, October 2013
   MusicWeb International, September 2013
   Fanfare, September 2013
   Audiophile Audition, August 2013
   Gramophone, July 2013
   MusicWeb International, June 2013
   International Record Review, June 2013
   Classical Lost and Found, May 2013
   Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, May 2013
   Infodad.com, May 2013
   ClassicalCDReview.com, May 2013
   David's Review Corner, April 2013
   ClassicsToday.com, April 2013
See latest reviews of other albums...

Jens F. Laurson
Ionarts, January 2014

Best Recordings of 2013: #10 - New Release

This Dacapo disc brings us three world premiere recordings of concertos that bookend Vagn Holmboe’s career. Focused yet lavishly folk-inspired, [the 1992 Viola Concerto] is bound to be acknowledged as one of the great Viola Concertos. The 1929 Concerto for Orchestra, brash and dark, is finest neo-classicism, asserting its youthful quality with confidence and severity. The 1979 Second Violin Concerto is a stellar firecracker…The persuasiveness of the works reflects on the ability and verve of the performers, making this an ideally accessible and rewarding Holmboe entry-point. © 2014 Ionarts Read complete review




Albert Lam
MusicWeb International, December 2013

My orchestral choice for the year.  Although this repertoire was entirely new repertoire to my ears, I was instantly captivated from the moment I heard the thunderous opening bass drum beats of the Viola Concerto.  This is truly fun music which needs to be heard more often, and it is superbly recorded here by Dacapo with a huge dynamic range, clarity, and presence. © MusicWeb International



Jens F. Laurson
Ionarts, November 2013

The timpanist in Vagn Holmboe’s 1992…Viola Concerto op.189 whacks away at the opening of [a] propulsive Allegro moderato first movement as if to give, double handedly, the finale of Nielsen’s “Inextinguishable” Symphony a run for its money. The recurring phrase alternates with wistfully-lyrical solo passages before soloist (Lars Anders Tomter) and the Norköpping Symphony Orchestra meld into a highly condensed and lean work of some 20 minutes that has every chance to be included in the sparsely populated pantheon of great Viola Concertos. It’s shocking that this should be the premiere recording of the work.

The 1929 Concerto for Orchestra can well hold its own against the famous…exponents of the form…Again it’s astounding that the Norköpping performance under Dima Slobodeniouk should not only be the first recording but also the premiere performance.

The 1979 Violin Concerto op.139 is a stellar firecracker, energetic, and prompting thoughts of Mendelssohn here, Enescu there, juggling its Balkan themes in lighthearted manner all the way to its virtuosic end which Erik Heide does proud. It confirms this disc as one of the most accessible and rewarding when it comes to Holmboe. The persuasiveness of the works reflects on the ability, dynamism, and verve of the performers. © 2013 Ionarts Read complete review



Ronald E. Grames
Fanfare, November 2013

Russian conductor Dima Slobodeniouk…plays no small part in the brilliance of this undertaking. The Norrköping Symphony Orchestra plays expertly and characterfully. Holmboe admirers will need no urging, but this is music that should be known to any serious collector of orchestral repertoire. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review




Phillip Scott
Fanfare, November 2013

Strong performances and terrific sound make the disc of two late string concertos by Vagn Holmboe a no-brainer: another welcome discovery. © 2013 Fanfare




Paul A. Snook
Fanfare, November 2013

No one familiar with the wealth of post-Nielsen Danish music would fail to salute the singular and voluminous accomplishments of Vagn Holmboe. This Da Capo offering combines two of his strongest late concertos (viola and the Second for violin) with a rare opportunity to listen to one of his early embryonic works, a Concerto for Orchestra of 1929. © 2013 Fanfare



Terry Robbins
The WholeNote, October 2013

There is another excellent release from the Danish national label, Dacapo Records, this time featuring Concertos by the Danish composer Vagn Holmboe…The three highly accessible works on this CD are all world premiere recordings, and one—the Concerto for Orchestra (1929)—is believed to be a world premiere performance as well.

Lars Anders Tomter is the soloist in the Concerto for Viola Op 189…it’s a work which immediately shows strength and personality. Violinist Erik Heide performs the Concerto for Violin No 2, Op 139…it’s a two-movement work, with hints of Samuel Barber as well as Carl Nielsen, especially in the beautiful slow movement. © 2013 The WholeNote Read complete review



Dan Morgan
MusicWeb International, September 2013

This Dacapo disc of concertos is particularly welcome, as these works don’t appear to be available elsewhere. Factor in Dacapo’s expertise when it comes to SACD…and this looks like a very tempting release indeed.

The Viola Concerto…[is] played here by the Norwegian Lars Anders Tomter…the auguries for this concerto are promising…Goodness, what a big, brawny sound this is, and how energetic for a composer in his twilight years. The viola part is warm and lyrical, and the soloist…is easily heard above the occasional tumult.

Holmboe’s dancing rhythms…make for a thrilling counterpoint, but it’s the glorious solo writing that lodges firmly in one’s musical memory. As for Tomter’s playing I can’t imagine a more beguiling or generously pitched performance of the concerto than this; his full, well-rounded tone…is a joy to hear. Both he and the orchestra—the latter’s spring-heeled outbursts sparingly deployed—are superbly caught by the Dacapo team.

What a virile piece this is, and how varied and interesting. These qualities are repeated in the much earlier Concerto for Orchestra, a clear-eyed and trenchant take on the neo-classical fashion of the time. The work’s Hindemithian breadth and weight are unmistakable…but intertwined with this is writing of surpassing loveliness and lift. These antinomies, an integral aspect of this composer’s craft, are brought to the fore in a reading of strength and high colour.

Erik Heide, the soloist in the sometimes quirky Violin Concerto No 2…as with the other artists on this disc…plays with great assurance and style. Conductor Dmitri Slobodeniouk doesn’t hold back, and the Norrköping players respond with alacrity to his extrovert direction.

The best hybrids offer exemplary Red Book and Super Audio layers, and this Dacapo release is no exception. Both are full-blooded and wonderfully nuanced, so even those with humble CD players won’t feel short-changed.

Indispensable additions to the Holmboe discography; sonically distinguished too. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Phillip Scott
Fanfare, September 2013

The performances are beyond reproach: committed, sensitive, and full of vitality. Tomter’s viola produces a warm, burnished tone that is a pleasure to listen to for its own sake; violinist Erik Heide is focused and expressive, and conductor Slobodeniouk is unquestionably a rising star to watch. Added to that, the disc offers the most spectacular sound I have heard in quite some time. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review




Lee Passarella
Audiophile Audition, August 2013

These performances represent a multinational effort, as we have a Swedish-born, Danish-educated violinist; a Norwegian violist; and a Russian conductor, aided and abetted by a very fine Swedish orchestra. The Norrköping Symphony, at eighty-one members, is a middling-sized band, seeming just the right size to give Holmboe’s ripe orchestrations heft yet transparency…The soloists are equally fine. Erik Heide…[and] Lars Tomter…present Holmboe’s clean clear solo lines with Nordic briskness that’s anything but cold. Recommended for all admirers of well-crafted modern music. © 2013 Audiophile Audition Read complete review




Guy Rickards
Gramophone, July 2013

HOLMBOE, V.: Viola Concerto / Violin Concerto No. 2 / Concerto for Orchestra (Heide, Tomter, Norrkoping Symphony, Slobodeniouk) 6.220599
HOLMBOE, V.: Chamber Music, Vol. 2 - Eco / Aspekter / Cello Sonata / Quartetto medico / Sextet (Ensemble MidtVest) 8.226074

The Viola Concerto (1992) is a lithe and energetic affair… That this is one of the finest viola concertos ever penned I have not the slightest doubt, and it is thrown off with dazzling virtuosity by Tomter and the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra under Russian-born, Finnish-resident Dima Slobodeniouk, who displays a real affinity for Holmboe’s idiom.

Ensemble MidtVest’s follow-up to their very well-received first chamber music disc…is equally impressive. Ensemble MidtVest provide an even more subtly nuanced account of the Op 114 Sextet, for wind and string trios, than their rivals on Rondo… Recommended. © 2013 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



Byzantion
MusicWeb International, June 2013

‘Concertos’ is an excellent place to start a collection of Holmboe’s music, a path that all true music lovers should take unhesitatingly. The excitingly virtuosic but also memorably melodious viola and violin concertos are both premiere recordings. The outstanding concerto for orchestra is too, but, rather startlingly, this recording is thought to be its first ever performance—even Holmboe never got to hear it…with the quality playing of the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra and two fine soloists, this disc…adds up to a must-have. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review




Martin Anderson
International Record Review, June 2013

The performances from Erik Heide, Lars Anders Tomter and the Norrköping orchestra under Dima Slobodeniouk are all outstanding, caught in a transparent and full-bodied surround-sound recording. © International Record Review



Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found, May 2013

Norwegian violist Lars Anders Tomter and Swedish violinst Erik Heide have the measure of their respective concertos, delivering technically exquisite, sensitive performances of them. There’s no sign of that intonational queasiness frequently associated with the viola.

Russian conductor Dima Slobodenouck puts the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra through its paces, providing the soloists with ideal support. They also give an outstanding, dynamic interpretation of the concerto for orchestra.

Danish orchestral recordings over the past couple of years have been among the best, and this one is no exception…the stereo tracks project a generous soundstage in a warm acoustic. An ideal balance between the soloists and orchestra is maintained throughout.

By all means take this disc along on your next audio safari. © 2013 Classical Lost and Found Read complete review



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, May 2013

…we turn to a fine disk of three of [Holmboe’s] Concertos…performed by the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra, with soloists Erik Heide, violin, Lars Anders Tomter, viola, Dina Slobodeniouk, conductor.

These are works that have a great deal to recommend them…

This is high-caliber music, showing the composer as a man of genuine talent and originality. The performances are pristine on all counts with excellent solo dynamics, nicely staged orchestral dramatics and a program that bears close scrutiny. © 2013 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review



Infodad.com, May 2013

Erik Heide plays [the Violin Concerto No. 2] with relish, and gets fine support from the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra under Dima Slobodeniouk. The ensemble does a first-rate job backing up Lars Anders Tomter as well, and Tomter handles the viola concerto with real flair. © 2013 Infodad.com Read complete review



Robert Benson
ClassicalCDReview.com, May 2013

Violinists, violists—and audiences—will welcome Dacapo’s remarkable disk of music of Danish composer Vagn Holmboe…These are premiere recordings of three works on this disk; actually this apparently is the first performance of the concerto for orchestra. Excellent performances, beautifully recorded by Dacapo. Highly recommended! © 2013 ClassicalCDReview.com Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2013

Van Holmboe’s vast output opened a door that would attract those who were looking for an entry point to the world of modern music. Largely relying on the tonality that existed before the Second Viennese School brought turmoil to the musical world, his works on this disc are readily attractive. The pounding opening to the Viola Concerto certainly grabs attention, the score written for the Israeli violist, Rivka Golani, prompting Holmboe to involve Jewish-tinged folk music. The second movement, which is twice the length of the first, is in the unusual format of combining a scherzo, slow Andante and vivacious finale. Here performed by the famous Norwegian, Lars Anders Tomter, his big and fulsome instrument holding its own against the large orchestral outbursts. The Violin Concerto from 1979 is in the musical world of Vaughan Williams, and at one point coming very close to A Lark Ascending. Its hard-hitting moments in the first movement sit next to passages of lyrical beauty and delicacy, and, as with the Viola Concerto, it is in two movements. Almost of equal length, they are divided into very definite sections, ending with a lively finale. One of Norway’s fast rising stars, Erik Heide, meets the technical hurdles with apparent ease, and in the song-like passages creates sounds of exquisite quality. All three works are receiving their world premiere recordings, the Concerto for Orchestra from 1929 never having been previously performed. He was just twenty at the time, and he is tempted to go through a whole gamut of influences, Grieg and Sibelius surfacing at times. In one movement, it does not make any extravagant demands on the orchestra, and throughout the disc the Norrkoping Symphony prove admirable Holmboe champions under the direction of the Russian-born conductor, Dima Slobodeniouk. Outstanding sound engineering. © David’s Review Corner




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, April 2013

Let’s not mince words. This is a great disc. It’s an enjoyable work, full of variety and contrast, as well as some captivating ideas, and it’s very well played…

Homboe’s Viola Concerto is just sensational. This work is fresh, rustic, energetically rhythmic, and wholly delightful. Lars Anders Tomter is the excellent soloist. This is one of those pieces you’ll play once, and then immediately want to hear again.

The Violin Concerto No 2 (1979) is scarcely less fine. Graceful, fluent, and full of fantasy, this is a piece that deserves to enter the repertoire. The dance-like finale ends with an unforgettable sound in which music of lightness and vigor leaves behind a final chiming chord, like a smile.

The soloist in the Violin Concerto, Erik Heide, has a sweet tone, fine sense of rhythm, and gratifyingly accurate intonation. Discs like this, full of music that’s modern but approachable, immaculately crafted and humane, only reinforce Holmboe’s claim to be regarded as one of the major voices in 20th century music. © 2013 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review






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