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Scott Morrison

Holmboe is considered by many to have been the most important Danish composer of the late 20th century and it is fitting that this performance is by the Danish Radio Sinfonietta which, in spite of being an orchestra initially founded to play the works of the classical masters like Mozart, has made a specialty of playing Holmboe's considerable music for this combination. They have already recorded his thirteen chamber concertos, works that often feature various combinations of solo groups and chamber orchestra [e.g. piano trio and orchestra; oboe, viola and orchestra] and they clearly have his style in their blood. I suspect that anyone reading this review will already be familiar with Holmboe's music and ready to snap this up. To those who are coming to his music for the first time, I would suggest that they might want to start with either a disc of his string quartets (if that's their meat) or one of the chamber concerto discs (my favorite happens to be Vol. 4).

David Hurwitz

"The Danish Radio Sinfonietta under Hannu Koivula plays with the sort of commitment that we should expect from compatriots of the composer, with crisp ensemble, excellent tuning, and phrasing that gives direction to the composer's long, airy, sinewy textures. The music also is beautifully recorded, warmly and naturally. Without question this is a major addition to the Holmboe discography and further testimony to a composer whose standards of craftsmanship were simply second to none."

W.S. Habington
La Scena Musicale

"An nexpected delight to discover works hitherto unknown. Denmark bracketed 20th century music with two great composers: Carl Nielsen and Vagn Holmboe (1909-1996). Holmboe's 13 symphonies and 13 chamber concertos occupy a special place in the progression of Nordic musical thought. His works (he also completed 20 string quartets) are tonal, diatonic and/or modal and organic in development. The four sinfonias for strings were first performed between 1958 and 1964. Dissonance reigns free, but with the cogency of the late Beethoven quartets alternating with the articulation of those by Bartok. The music ranges from reflective to rousingly stimulating. The four pieces are given fine performances by the Danish Radio Sinfonietta with the solo violin and cello parts reserved for Sinfonia IV. Holmboe left the option of combining the sinfonias to form one extended work, Chairos (Greek for time in the psychological rather than chronological sense). Pauses notwithstanding, Allan Pettersson gives it the character of a symphony, but with an ample injection of thematic inspiration. Dacapo has generously supplied a bonus disc with the consolidated version to save the trouble of having to program CD players. A very rewarding issue. Why Dacapo waited seven years to release it is perplexing--but better late than never."

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