Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Lawrence Schenbeck
PS Tracks, September 2012

…a terrific new SACD from Da Capo featuring accordion whiz Bjarke Mogensen and the Danish National Chamber Orchestra…offers an impressive assortment of music, ranging from the tonal neoclassicism of Schmidt to the postmodern wit of Koppel to more avant-garde offerings by Martin Lohse…and Per Nørgård…Try it, you’ll like it. © 2012 PS Tracks Read complete review

Richard Whitehouse
Gramophone, July 2012

The accordion tradition is flourishing in Denmark, if these distinctive and complementary discs are anything to go by—showcasing two musicians for whom the possibilities of their instrument know few, if any, bounds.

Bjarke Mogensen has put together a diverse yet cohesive quartet of concertante works that span over half a century. Ole Schmidt duly sets the scene with Symphonic Fantasy and Allegro, its nonchalant take on sonata and rondo forms couched in an appealing idiom between Bartók and Copland.

Mogensen benefits from spirited and attentive playing by the Danish National Chamber Orchestra, enhanced by Rolf Gupta’s attentive direction…superbly recorded, the Dacapo sound securing a wellnigh ideal balance of soloist and ensemble…Jens Cornelius contributes informative booklet-notes to the concerto disc…pleasurable listening pure and simple. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Tiina Kiik
The WholeNote, June 2012

Mogensen and the colourful Danish National Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Rolf Gupta are brilliant both in their interpretations and tight ensemble nuances.

Symphonic Fantasy and Allegro, Op.20…draws its inspiration from Bartók and Stravinsky. Its rhythmic pulse cries out for a modern dance interpretation. Per Nørgård’s Recall (1968/1977) is a happy rhapsodic work with its many popular music harmonic and groove references.

The remaining two concertos were composed for Mogensen. Mogensen makes his brutal technical part sound so easy in this quasi minimalistic exercise in shifting fluid breathtaking sounds.

Mogensen is an artist to experience! © 2012 The WholeNote Read complete review

Joshua Kosman
San Francisco Chronicle, May 2012

How’s this for an improbable turn of events: The most beautiful, dramatic and sheerly irresistible disc of new music to cross my desk in months is a compilation of four Scandinavian accordion concertos. Well, believe it. In lively, thoughtful performances by the remarkable Danish virtuoso Bjarke Mogensen, these pieces—two of them written for him—showcase the instrument’s versatility and color. What’s remarkable, too, is the way none of the composers here shies away from the accordion’s various associations—the music here is at once modern and tuneful, rhythmic and comical. Ole Schmidt’s Symphonic Fantasy and Allegro (1958), for example, is frank about the instrument’s circus overtones while joining that exuberance to the grittiness of Bartók, and Per Norgard’s “Recall” draws on ancient dance forms. The newer works are even more striking—Anders Koppel’s “Concerto Piccolo” begins with an eerie dreamscape that will give you chills, while Martin Lohse’s “In Liquid” covers a range of styles without abandoning its distinctive and forceful voice. © 2012 San Francisco Chronicle, May 2012

Two of the pieces here, Anders Koppel’s Concerto Piccolo (2009) and Martin Lohse’s In Liquid… (2008/2010), were specifically written for Mogensen, and it is easy to see why. He seems able to make the accordion into something it does not naturally appear to be: an instrument of considerable emotional range, tonal impact and sonic beauty. Both Koppel and Lohse demand accordion playing that is not only virtuosic but also refined and emotive, and Mogensen delivers it with seeming effortlessness throughout both pieces. He brings elegance and even charm to the two earlier works here as well: Per Norgård’s Recall (1968/1977) and Ole Schmidt’s Symphonic Fantasy and Allegro (1958), the latter being particularly interesting because it is a wholly traditional sort of display piece, written for an instrument that would not seem to be well-suited to the demands of such a work. In Mogensen’s hands, though, the accordion is not to be trifled with or taken lightly—it sounds as worthy of being studied and highlighted as other instruments. © 2012 Read complete review

Norman Lebrecht
La Scena Musicale, April 2012

If you thought the best way to kill a dinner party is to play modern Nordic concertos on the accordion, think again. Bjarke Morgensen’s set by Schmidt, Koppel, Lohse and Norgard, neither lugubrious nor autistic, fizz like an aural set of Northern Lights. Weird and scintillating stuff. © 2012 La Scena Musicale

Robert Benson, April 2012

In all of the music on this SACD there is a touch of humor and whimsy. Anders Koppel’s “Piccolo” concerto is so labeled because it is written for a high “piccolo” register of the instrument and because the orchestra consists only of strings. Martin Lohse (b. 1971) wrote his In Liquid… for Mogensen and it, like all the other works on the CD, contains a cadenza with much improvisation. Per Norgard (b. 1932) was influenced by Balkan folk music when he wrote Recall for Danish accordion virtuoso Lars Bjarne; there are three movements ending with a lively Rondino. Performances are expert…If you’re looking for something different, try this. © 2012 Read complete review

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group