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Colin Clarke
Fanfare, November 2018

The DVD/SACD of Axel Borup-Jørgensen’s MARIN is a spectacular experience, both visually and sonically. I have written previously that this composer’s music needs more exposure, and this is a massive step in the right direction (a disc of his organ music made my 2017 Want List, so this makes two years in succession). The film AXEL presents a fascinating portrait of this enigmatic composer. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, April 2018

The orchestral opus “Marin” gets a fully fleshed, vibrantly sonic reading from Thomas Sondergard conducting the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Written at various stages between 1963–1970, it has a High Modernist soundscaped sonority and a good deal of dimensional depth. I would not hesitate to number this as among Borup-Jørgensen’s most profound and effective works.

Another essential on the disc is his “Coast of Sirens, Op. 100” (1983–85) for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, guitar, piano, percussion and multivoice tape. The female voices ethereally evoke the seductive clarion call while the chamber ensemble wraps itself in and around the vocals with luminous elements of very modern atmospheric articulations. © 2018 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Ronald E. Grames
Fanfare, March 2018

The visuals are quite striking: imaginative, colorful, powerful, with exquisitely rendered surface details, gorgeous light effects, and a fine sense of being under water. In truth, the marenes, with their rudimentary features and mummy-like wrap, are a bit unnerving, especially in close-up. The temple, though, with its great arched ceilings, current-swayed plant-like structures, and central up-current of water and golden globules ascending through the opening of an immense dome, is intensely beautiful, as is most of the setting. Many of the shapes found in the underwater settings are taken from Borup-Jørgensen’s own primitivistic icons, some of which appeared in his scores. It is an inventive visual fantasy, mysterious in its ambiguity of image and narrative.

Having greatly appreciated the video on its own terms, it is the audio disc that I would choose if I wished to focus on Marin itself. I would prefer it both for the crystalline rendering of the music and—I must be honest—to be free of the diversion by the imagery, beautiful as it is. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review

Colin Clarke
Fanfare, March 2018

The film MARIN by Allan O. Lückow is inventive and, well, odd. Or, as I put it in my listening notes, “odd, odd, odd.” Basing the imagery on some of the composer’s own drawings, we enter an alternative, submarine universe inhabited by creatures called “marenes”; their doings are laid over Borup-Jøgensen’s score of Marin. This could be a futuristic world, but even that is left open: Perhaps it is a parallel one? Surreal and intensely beautiful, it is a must-watch, but not for repeated viewings. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review

Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, March 2018

One of the most interesting things I learned about Borup-Jørgensen from this documentary was that he took as much care specifying how he wanted phrases to end as he did specifying how he wanted them to begin, and his music is filled with precise and sometimes innovatively expressed directions for performers. I very much like the idea that endings are just as important as beginnings, as endings are preludes to silence, and silence is just a different sort of music.

For me, Marin is the strongest work on the SACD, and I consider the other works to be a very generous bonus, and perhaps music to grow into over time. Among these bonuses, however, the most striking is Pergolato, a work for solo treble recorder, here played by Michala Petri herself. Borup-Jørgensen composed it for her, and it was his final composition—a very touching way to end a career. Nachstück, for solo tenor recorder, also is very fine, and here, it is played by Elisabet Selin, the composer’s daughter, and Petri’s only private student. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review

Records International, December 2017

This set is a meticulously assembled and detailed composer portrait / tribute of and to this unique Scandinavian individualist. Its center of gravity is the 20-minute seascape for large orchestra, Marin, a score that explores both microscopic detail (otherworldly zooplankton, perhaps) and macroscopic monumentality—continent-wide ocean surges and currents. Huge swirling masses of orchestral texture coexist with filigree solo writing, the orchestra often divided into many parts. Like most of the composer’s mature works the language is freely atonal, though individual components can be derived from almost any idiom from non-functional tonal harmony to cluster-based sonorist textures. © 2017 Records International

Andrew Mellor
Gramophone, December 2017

In Marin, Borup-Jørgensen delivered an engrossing and monolithic vision of the sea in various phases. As a listening experience it can be compared to pre-Grand Macabre Ligeti but the language occupies its own territory. The piece heaves itself up from the depths and, after nearly 20 minutes, disintegrates at height. It is a true tapestry in which no instrument takes a predominant role; at one point, the violins alone divide into 55 parts.

This product is a curious one in some respects, but its triumph is that it treats Marin with the same everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach that its creator did (it took Borup-Jørgensen seven years to write; he rented a separate house in which to spend 1000 hours completing the fair copy). Thomas Søndergård presides over an intense and clear reading of the score… © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, November 2017

With an inspiring animation film on Axel Borup-Jörgensen’s sea symphony Marin, a video portrait and an SACD with music by the Danish composer, this is a worthwhile album and an appealing homage to Borup-Jörgensen. © 2017 Pizzicato

Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, October 2017

This curious package (containing both a DVD and a Super Audio CD) contains both an animated film and a portrait of the composer Axel Borup-Jørgensen. The music (unquestionably in avant-garde idiom) is written for a very disparate collection of instruments, which the composer utilises to the full. Not for every taste, but those of adventurous mien might find this a worthwhile investment. © 2017 Classical CD Choice

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