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Robert Reilly
Catholic News Agency, January 2012

Robert Reilly’s Favorite of the Year

These works are playful, good-humored—even humorous—lyrical, rhythmically diverse and catchy, using whatever idiom or genre that [Koppel] seems to take a fancy to at any given moment. In other words, he captures the spirit of spontaneity. Without failure, the musical textures are beguiling. This is highly entertaining, very engaging music. © 2012 Catholic News Agency See complete list

Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, November 2011

The performances are outstanding as is the audio dimension and the notes by Esben Tange are models of their sort. Wonderful music-making. I hope to hear further from this Koppel and would not be at all upset to be invited to review more by this gifted artist. Read complete review

Barry Kilpatrick
American Record Guide, November 2011

…lovely melodies and duets…

Mattias Johansson…makes a compact sound that is satisfactory in the middle and upper registers…

To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online.

David Fanning
Gramophone, November 2011

beautifully performed, admirably recorded works…

To read the complete review, please visit Gramophone online.

Victor Carr Jr, August 2011

Anders Koppel’s concertos show off not only his impressive versatility with solo instruments, but also offer stimulating musical variety as well. The neoclassical Sinfonia Concertante emulates Stravinsky in its piquant harmonies and pointed rhythms. The colorful solo music contains a wealth of clever ideas for the violin, viola, clarinet, and bassoon, all brilliantly played by Yana Deshkova, Anna Maria D. Dahl, Randi Østergaard, and Sheila Popkin. The finale discards Stravinsky for Sibelius as it echoes that composer’s unique ostinato style, albeit with some fetching melodies that bear the unmistakable stamp of Anders himself.

The flute and harp concerto contains just the sort of idyllic music you would expect with this combination of instruments, as Koppel proves quite adept at conjuring Elysian fields. But over the course of the work’s five movements dark clouds emerge to bring trouble to paradise (and provide welcome dramatic contrast). But after brief periods of struggle, the music achieves a peaceful state by the close. Koppel’s exquisite writing for both instruments makes a powerful impression as played by Claus Ettrup Larsen (flute) and Mette Nielsen (harp).

Lastly, the Tuba Concerto is another case where Koppel’s music suits our expectations of an instrument’s “character”. This tuba is a pleasant, portly, if somewhat befuddled fellow (the “Otis” character from the 1978 Superman movie, uncannily portrayed in music by John Williams, comes immediately to mind). Again, it’s not all happy hijinks as Koppel puts the tuba through its paces with some tension-filled passages (which Mattias Johansson handles with aplomb), but all’s well by the sparkling conclusion. Conductor Matthias Aeschbacher (Koppel’s friend, and dedicatee of the Sinfonia Concertante) leads the Aalborg Symphony in vibrant performances of all three works. Dacapo’s recording presents it all in solid, engaging sound. A high priority disc.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2011

Composers nowadays take themselves far too seriously, Anders Koppel being one notable exception, as this entertaining concerto disc readily reveals. The son of the distinguished Danish composer, Herman Koppel, Anders has crossed many borders as a performing musician, being for a number of years part of the famous rock group, Savage Rose. As a composer he has been very active in the field of film music, with over 200 scores to his credit. More recently he has been drawn towards the world of chamber and symphonic music, the earliest of the disc’s three works being written for tuba in 2003. Usually the butt of musical jokes, Koppel offers the soloist a chance to exhibit their technical expertise as he takes them through its entire range, at times in a commanding role, while at other it gently murmurs along. Four years later he embarked on the challenge of writing a ‘concerto’ in the style of a Sinfonia Concertante from yesteryear. He uses four solo instruments—violin, viola, clarinet and bassoon—and provides a wonderfully interweaving score with a gentle central Largo to contrast with outer movements that at times reminds one of the Cafe orchestras at the end of the nineteenth century. The Flute and Harp Concerto’s five movements form the most extended score and has the well-known work by Mozart as its predecessor, though stylistically there is no connection. Koppel takes his two instruments through the whole gambit of emotions from a quirky Pastorale to an Intermezzo in the mood of background music you may hear in your local restaurant. Using principals from the fine Aalborg Symphony as the soloists, their performances impress in a showcase of technique, while their colleagues provide a highly engaging backdrop. So sit back and simply enjoy the disc in excellent sound.

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