David's Review Corner
, October 2009
A tour through Danish music written during the second-half of the 20th century by five of the nation’s leading composers for violin and piano. Though not an intention of the disc, it does show just how confused musical fashions had become in that period. At times embracing tonality, while at others becoming disjointed serialism, the opening work, E Rigidis, finds Niels Rosing-Schow journeying through these styles within the space of his three movements. Maybe best to start at track 5 where you have the melody of Per Nørgård’s Diptychon to grasp onto as the two instruments dance around each other. Poul Ruders is often jagged and overtly modern in Three tiny pieces for great friends, but is in a very different world for the lyric Bel Canto composed as a test piece for the 2004 Carl Nielsen Violin Competition. It does not pose outgoing challenges of technique, but would provide questions of musicianship. Two Movements for violin and piano was completed in 1978 by Anders Nordentoft, and is readily attractive, the gentle opening Andante juxtaposed with a turbulent Allegro vivace. Where these composers were hastening music is for future generations to judge, Herman Koppel having his roots in a more traditional world, the three movements of Ternio giving the piano more than a share of the activity. The disc is played by the long established violinist, Elisabeth Zeuthen Schneider, and one of Denmark’s most highly regarded pianists, Ulrich Staerk. They handle most effectively the many differing modes of writing, though I feel they are most content in the Koppel. Good sound engineering.