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Scott Noriega
Fanfare, November 2015

My first experience with the music of Anders Koppel, a musician of wide interests and wide talents, was this disc featuring the composer’s four marimba concertos. From the opening of the very first of them, I was mesmerized. The unique sonorities that this composer conjures, along with his true understanding of the implications of the genre—that is, a constant flux between competition and coexistence—make for consistently enjoyable listening experiences. And when performed with the energy and the sheer joie de vivre, as here, by Marianna Bednarska and the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra under Henrik Vagn Christensen, there is little to not recommend. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Phillip Scott
Fanfare, November 2015

Concerto form brings out the best in the Danish composer Anders Koppel, and his four (!) marimba concertos are particularly enticing. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Phillip Scott
Fanfare, May 2015

The performances are full of vim and sensationally recorded. Marianna Bednarska displays a range of expression that I would not have thought the instrument possessed… The Aalborg Symphony Orchestra under Christensen adds plenty of color and dash of its own. …a compelling, genuinely musical experience. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Scott Noriega
Fanfare, May 2015

…the young Polish percussionist Marianna Bednarska shows herself to be not only a tremendously gifted artist in terms of sheer instrumental virtuosity, but also a highly thoughtful and emotional musician of the first order. Backed by the fine playing of the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra under Henrik Vagn Christensen, one could not ask for better ensemble playing nor instrumental dialogue than one gets here. This is a fabulous disc, one which I plan to return to over and over again in the coming months. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review

Stephen Estep
American Record Guide, March 2015

…the concertos are constantly appealing…it would take one grouchy old codger not to be won by these. The playing is unimpeachable… © 2015 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Ralph Graves
WTJU, January 2015

Koppel’s concertos all have a strong rhythmic element. Sometimes it’s rock-inspired, sometimes jazzy, but always strongly centered in the classical realm. The soloist is always challenged. The music skips across the marimba’s keyboard, making great demands on the speed, accuracy and musicality of the performer. Bednarska delivers on all counts. © 2015 WTJU Read complete review

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim
The New York Times, January 2015

…sparkling recording featuring the gifted young Polish percussionist Marianna Bednarska and the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Henrik Vagn Christensen. © 2015 The New York Times Read complete review

Robert Benson, January 2015

…superb new SACD played by the dynamic young Polish percussionist Mariana Bednarska, with fine orchestral accompaniment conducted by Henrik Vagn Christensen. This is audience pleasing music, and has been recorded in audiophile sound. © 2015 Read complete review

Guy Rickards
Gramophone, January 2015

…hugely enjoyable… © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb International, December 2014

Henrik Vagn Christensen directs with assurance, making clear that the orchestra is a protagonist in the dramas, as well as the Marimba which itself is in the safest of hands in these performances. A terrific SACD sound complements the performances…Marimba fans; apply within. © 2014 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, December 2014

Marianna Bednarska does a great job as the soloist, giving us performances with the dash and flourish one might expect. She is nearly always in motion and it is clear she was thoroughly prepared to shine as she does. The orchestra does a fine job as the perfect foil and contrasting voice in the music.

It is most essential listening for anybody with an interest in the marimba in contemporary music. But it is quite engaging and enjoyable in its own right.

Recommended! © 2014 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review, December 2014

The four concertos, and the encore-like P.S. to a Concerto, give listeners a chance not only to hear some interesting contemporary music in which an instrument not usually thought of as a concerto candidate is used to very good effect—but also to experience the ways in which the concerto concept has continued to intrigue composers right up to the present day, being adapted by them to new sounds, new instruments and new structural techniques. © 2014 Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2014

With his feet firmly placed in tradition and his head looking towards the future, Anders Koppel is at the central point of three generations of Danish composers. His father, Herman, who was born in 1908, began the dynasty with his own mixed musical tastes, his son, Anders, following directly in that tradition. Gravitating towards heavy rock music, the ‘classical’ side of his life was filled with contemporary experimental music. As time passed—he was born in 1947—he was to move towards music with the aim of composing classical music relevant to the greater public. He also became very much influenced by Latin American sounds and rhythms, including the tango and samba. If you link all of those desires together, the composition of music for marimba and orchestra is an obvious outlet, the four concertos included on this disc spread evenly over the period 1995 to 2006. In content they are mostly happy pieces that display the dexterity and virtuosity of the performer against a colourful modernistic orchestral backdrop. For my own part, having spent a life with an orchestral percussionist wife, I am obviously going to enjoy the disc, though I guess your first requisite must be a liking for the instrument, as Koppel has it playing almost throughout each work. His slow movements are slinky and sexy in mood, and if you are expecting something peaceful in the Andante finale of the First Concerto, you will be very surprised by the activity. All require the technical expertise that abounds in the playing of the 20-year-old Polish percussionist, Marianna Bednarska, a quite remarkable performer. The Aalborg orchestra perform excellently for the conductor, Henrik Vagn Christensen, the engineers placing the marimba so that it dominates. © 2014 David’s Review Corner

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