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Barry Brenesal
Fanfare, September 2007

…the music on this album is quite good. Each of the works is distinctive, well constructed, and attractively orchestrated, owing something stylistically to some combination of the French and Russian nationalists, Louis Glass, Victor Bendix, and most notably Carl Nielsen. The opening to the Overture in C could in fact pass for Nielsen, so strongly is his influence felt in the shape of the musical phrases and the harmonic relationships. …The Symphony No. 1 (1913) is the best of the lot, its slow movement—containing a chromatically serpentine main theme of striking quality—the finest thing of all, with its own assertive voice and much of interest to say.

The rest of the music is interesting. The Poème lyrique (1911) has a long-breathed, convincing songfulness that opens and closes the work, while the Overture in C (1921) possesses a breathless impetuosity.

…the readings are committed, whatever other shortcomings they may possess. So this one’s definitely recommended…. © 2007 Fanfare Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2007

Peder Gram is one of many North European composers that the recording industry is bringing back to life after their music fell many years ago into that large black hole of obscurity. Born in Copenhagen in 1881 he was already in his early twenties before he embarked on a serious musical education at the Conservatory in Leipzig. His return to his native city brought him modest posts in music, but he was 56 before he gained his first influential position as head of music of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. That his output as a composer was infrequent is shown by the fact that his Third Symphony  - completed one year before his death in 1956 - carries the low opus number 35. Posterity is cruel to those who write in a style that has long passed, and though Gram certainly knew how to put a coherent symphony together, as the First Symphony of 1913 showed, Raff had composed in this style forty years previous. There was also in Denmark at the time a young man called Carl Nielsen who was taking music into new and exciting horizons. It was the hurdle Gram simply could not overcome, but don't let that put you off, just go to track 5 - the finale of the symphony - and enjoy music as bracing as a spring wind. It is that immaculately orchestrated music you will like when you explore the remainder of the disc. The South Jutland Symphony acquits itself well enough, a few passing moments of queasy string and horn intonation taking nothing from our enjoyment. Play at a high volume to lift the sound from the disc.





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