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Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, September 2007

All of the works heard here are from the hand of a distinguished composer, even if they are not necessarily highly distinguishable one from another in terms of musical content and style. …If you love the mostly German Romantic repertoire that is encompassed by Mendelssohn, Weber, and Spohr at one end, and Liszt, Schumann, and Brahms at the other, you will find an hour’s worth of enormous pleasure on this CD. The playing and recording are topnotch. Strongly recommended. © 2007 Fanfare Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2007

Born in Copenhagen in 1805, Johan Peter Emilius Hartmann - not to be confused with many other Hartmanns - was to live to the first year of the 20th century, and was composing well into his eighties, by which time he had become a central figure in Danish music. Yet he was self-taught, mixing his life as a civil servant with a highly productive output of music that eventually arrived at several hundred scores. That he became largely locked into a post-Beethoven idiom, with Schumann hovering in the background, places his music stylistically in a generation before its actual date of composition. As an orchestrator he owed much to Spohr, though as this disc shows he was a highly skilled practitioner. If his music has fallen from the concert repertoire, the reason must rest with the fact that his thematic material - that is always totally pleasing - does not always lodge in the memory. Probably best to start at track 8, Hakon Jarl, the sinister and quiet opening dragging you into a red-blooded score that would happily stand comparison as the Danish equivalent to Dvorak's tone-poems. For me the slight disappointment must be the choral singing in Volvens Spadom, the tone quality not perfectly focused. They do not have a massive role and the orchestral playing throughout is superb. Excellent sound quality.

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