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David Reynolds
American Record Guide, January 2018

“To write music for a poem is to mix blood with a poet”, the composer said at one point. With his songs he offers proof. I was very taken with the variety of expression he finds in the poems and the many ways he responds to the different languages (there are four here: Danish, English, German, and French). There is not a dull musical moment. The music can be beautifully lyrical in one song and crushingly dissonant in the next. He is not afraid of melody and mixes it with sparser musical lines that underline the meaning of the texts.

The main singer is joined by bass Steffen Bruun who is heard by himself in the Two German Songs and ‘Deux Melodies’. Flutist Ulla Millman is heard with Ms Bruun in Evening Songs. Ms Bruun has one of the most elegant, beautiful voices I’ve heard in a long time. She responds readily to all of her assignments here and I hope to hear more of her in the future. If she sang the phone book, I’d buy her record—the voice is that alluring. Her partner, Hyldig, is also a fascinating talent. The different shades and colors he is able to bring out in Olsen’s writing are incredible. Olsen’s piano writing is virtuosic, and the pianist has to have full command of the keyboard. The other Bruun owns a deep, resonant, manly bass that is at once confident and (when he needs to be) vulnerable. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Göran Forsling
MusicWeb International, June 2017

The singing throughout is full of character and Hetna Regitze Bruun, who has the lion’s share of the songs is truly expressive, as is Steffen Bruun in the songs for a deep voice. Kristoffer Hyldig’s accompaniments are expertly performed and I must commend Ulla Miilmann for her exquisite flute playing in the Evening Songs. The wide scope of the poems—in Danish, Swedish, German, French and English—should appeal also to international listeners and the songs are for the most part deeply emotional. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2017

Relatively unknown on the world stage, Poul Rovsing Olsen, was active in Denmark during the mid-part of the 20th century as a composer, critic, and university lecturer. Though his compositions covered a wide area, including operas and orchestral works, his total output numbered just 85 works, the present disc covering his output of songs. Strongly influenced by the two mentors in his years of maturity—Nadia Boulanger and Olivier Messiaen—there is a mix of French and oriental sounds, though the overriding factor is his dependence on the traditions of tonality and melody. Grouped together the songs are largely miniatures, many not lasting much longer than a minute, and are mostly scored for mezzo-soprano and piano, the words coming from a wide range of poets and have a comprehensive view of life, with birds and flowers often the subject. There is an obvious inbuilt love of the human voice that Olsen never takes out of its comfort zone, and I am not sure whether I find the composer lacking in characterisation of the words, or whether he looked to the performers to do this for him. Certainly the vocal quality of the mezzo, Hetna Regitze Bruun, is always very beautiful with intonation that is in the centre of each note. That could be equally said of the bass, Steffen Bruun, who seems particularly intent on a smooth projection. Again I would have to say that for much of the time Olsen gives the pianist nothing much more than a backdrop, but that is attentively looked after by Kristoffer Hylding, who displays nimble fingers when called upon. Ideal balance between voice and keyboard, with the principal flute of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Ulla Miilmann, making an limpid appearance in the four Evening Songs. © 2017 David’s Review Corner





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