Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Tim Munro
Limelight, January 2017

NØRGÅRD, P.: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 6 (Oslo Philharmonic, Storgårds) 6.220645
NØRGÅRD, P.: Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5 (Oslo Philharmonic, Storgårds) 6.220646

The Oslo Philharmonic gives committed, accomplished performances of these difficult works, and are recorded with clarity and atmosphere… © 2017 Limelight Read complete review

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, September 2016

Storgårds and the Oslo musicians weave patterns that bring out the essence of the works. I am glad to have this recording and do not hesitate to recommend it highly. Nørgård is a symphonist for our times. The music speaks volumes. © 2016 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review, September 2016

This SACD release features John Storgårds conducting the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra performing Nørgård’s Second Symphony, in which the composer unfolds his famous ‘infinity principle’ euphorically and almost psychedelically, and his Sixth Symphony, in which the mature composer proves more exploratory and playful than ever. © 2016 Read complete review

BBC Music Magazine, September 2016

NØRGÅRD, P.: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 6 (Oslo Philharmonic, Storgårds) 6.220645
NØRGÅRD, P.: Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5 (Oslo Philharmonic, Storgårds) 6.220646

John Storgårds has brought this music so finely and compellingly into focus… © 2016 BBC Music Magazine

Allen Gimbel
American Record Guide, September 2016

Nørgård is obviously an acquired taste, and will appeal to fans of academic modernism of the most extreme density. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Marcus Karl Maroney, August 2016

…[the Second] is mesmerizing and proto-minimalist; the progression of the music gives the impression of repetition, …Beginning with a whisper in the woodwinds, the Second gradually starts to wobble like a perfect, aural panna cotta. Brass and percussion interjections create structural markers that lead organically to the work’s shattering climax.

Storgårds and his Oslo players accomplish it all, and then some.

The Sixth is a decidedly different affair. …Like a non-linear movie plot, the work seems to being with a glittering, fading descent coda, only to restart and become vastly exploratory. Various textures are combined and juxtaposed in unexpected but somehow inevitable ways. …There is a lot to absorb in the work, and it makes prodigious demands on all sections of the orchestra. Here, rhythmic coordination between variously stratified layers of the ensemble is what makes the music tick, as well as turn-on-a-dime arrivals. © 2016 Read complete review

Stephen Greenbank
MusicWeb International, August 2016

[Symphony No. 6’s] scoring is resourceful, Nørgård proving himself an alchemist and master of colour. He blends several unusual instruments into the mix, including double bass trombone, double bass tuba and double bass clarinet. I’m particularly enamoured by the finale, a quirky and capricious romp, infused with a surfeit of wit, and sprinkled with a luscious helping of rumbustiousness. The brass section of the orchestra I would single out for special mention—their rasping growls are irresistible. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Richard Whitehouse, August 2016

Dacapo continues its traversal of Per Nørgård’s Symphonies, arguably the most significant such cycle from the post-war era.

Storgårds undoubtedly has the measure of this endlessly absorbing work… © 2016 Read complete review

James Manheim, July 2016

…the orchestra conveys the excitement of playing well at the limit of its abilities, and Storgårds catches many small details. © 2016 Read complete review

Dan Morgan
MusicWeb International, July 2016

This radiant and all-encompassing sound world is truly celestial in character, and the tonal sophistication of this recording…is frankly formidable. No, this isn’t musical wallpaper: the symphony has a strong narrative—a Scheherazade-like compulsion—that enthralls to the end. Part of the work’s allure is its striking juxtapositions and subtle, intertwined rhythms, all of which create a finely honed, light-pulsing soundscape. As one might expect from all this wizardry the upshot is something quite wonderful.

Another triumph for John Storgårds and the Oslo [Philharmonic]… © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Andrew Mellor
Gramophone, July 2016

NØRGÅRD, P.: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 6 (Oslo Philharmonic, Storgårds) 6.220645
NØRGÅRD, P.: Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5 (Oslo Philharmonic, Storgårds) 6.220646

The detail in the writing—articulation bestowed upon single instruments in the tiniest of gestures—is beguiling.

So are these performances. Listening across the orchestra is vital in this music, just as in Sibelius. The Oslo Philharmonic sound settled at the foundations while suggesting spontaneity on the surface. Storgårds offers a touch more nimbleness and translucence than Sakari Oramo, who started this Dacapo cycle with the Vienna Philharmonic. The brass and percussion offer extreme restraint and delicacy. The Oslo string sound is tight but can be wholly embracing too. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Andrew Clements
The Guardian, June 2016

NØRGÅRD, P.: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 6 (Oslo Philharmonic, Storgårds) 6.220645
NØRGÅRD, P.: Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5 (Oslo Philharmonic, Storgårds) 6.220646

…these four symphonies are utterly different from each other.

But of these four works, the Sixth Symphony (1999) is for me the most extraordinary. …this music constantly opens up new territory, spawning luminous fresh ideas right up to the closing bars. It creates an exhilarating, sometimes revelatory musical journey, but then what all these symphonies offer is unlike anything any other composer is writing today. © 2016 The Guardian Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2016

NØRGÅRD, P.: Symphonies Nos. 2 and 6 (Oslo Philharmonic, Storgårds) 6.220645
NØRGÅRD, P.: Symphonies Nos. 4 and 5 (Oslo Philharmonic, Storgårds) 6.220646

Per Nørgård’s eight symphonies stand among the most outstanding orchestral works of our time, and I hope these two new releases will mark a complete cycle. The Second dates from 1970 and is contained within one movement, the programme notes explaining at length Nørgård’s compositional process at the time. All very interesting, though the end result is how it sounds to the listener, and it is audience response that will find it a place in the concert repertoire. From the outset you will find a fascination in the sounds produced, the ever-changing texture creating a mood of atonality, yet without any premeditated intention to produce the sounds that we relate to music from the Second Viennese School. In dynamic, the work continues to grow with the progressive addition of departments of the orchestra, only to go in reverse when the first climatic peak has been reached. These dynamic surges are a feature of a work that becomes increasingly animated and intense, until the final bars evaporate into peace. It is coupled with the Sixth from 1999, a score shaped in the conventional three movements, though the initial random appearance of notes—to the listener, if not the composer—does eventually coalesce into more readily recognisable shapes. The central Lentissimo, then becomes rather sinister in a dark and sombre quality, the linked short final Allegro energico bringing a massive change of mood with its jazzy rhythms that disintegrate as the movement ends.

The Fourth from 1981 is in two movements and was composed to a scenario of The Indian Rose Garden and Chinese Witch Lake. To understand their meaning and import, you will have to read the enclosed booklet, but it takes as its inspiration from the Swiss artist, Adolf Wölfli, whose mental illness prevented that ever being turned into reality, Nørgård composing the work in his memory. After the rather abstract sounds of the garden, the second movement is violent, contorted, and yet in many ways conforms more to symphonic traditions. The Fifth is in five movements and toys with the violent forces of nature with music often high on impact, that come between still moments that have an undercurrent of unease. The second movement certainly has a feeling of primaeval events, the Andante and Lento movements offering a respite from the impact that returns in a finale replete with brass and percussion, the picture of lightning on the disc’s cover being very appropriate. All four works require an orchestra of outstanding quality which it finds in Oslo, and as the composer would appear to have worked with the conductor, John Storgårds, in the preparation of these recordings, they must represent new benchmarks. The sound quality is of exceptional clarity and spaciousness. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group