, September 2012
The string quartets…are given excellent performances here, with strident and lively playing from the Danish String Quartet. Stylistically, these quartets require a fine balance between the Classicism of Schubert and Beethoven, to which Nielsen regularly refers, and the grounded folk-inflected gestures he adds to ensure his Danish identity is not forgotten. Some of this string quartet playing is also surprisingly aggressive, in the Scherzo of the Op.13 quartet for example, but never to the point of excess.
The SACD audio for the string quartets is good…
The violin works on the fourth disc are also impressive, especially the sonatas. The First perfectly encapsulates the Nielsen sound of the 1890s, mixing as it does lively rhythms and a bright sound with a feeling of groundedness that comes from the music’s now distant folk roots. The Second Sonata is from 1912 and is a considerably more complex and sophisticated work. Violinist Jon Gjesme draws on a palette of colours and sounds that is ideal for both works, and his performances are matched in quality by those of Tue Lautrup, who concludes the disc with two extended works for solo violin.
The quantity of material here, and the quality in which it is performed and presented, allows interested listeners to make their own minds up about the relative merits of Nielsen’s various chamber works. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review