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David Hurwitz, December 2010

This is a very enjoyable disc. Per Norgard’s music inspiration ranges wide, from pop music idioms and tangos (in Animals in Concert), to simple tunes and modern sound effects. There’s humor and charm, especially in Nine Friends, and Norgard compensates for a certain lack of sheer lyricism in his style with a particularly evocative use of pedal effects, exploiting the piano’s natural resonance very evocatively. Erik Kaltoft plays all of this music with an appealing timbre, a light touch, and nimble sense of rhythm. In the more abstract pieces (the Nine Studies, the Fragments, and the Sketches), he shapes each piece with an unerring sense of purpose. Though these are mostly simple (or at least short) pieces, they do require a measure of virtuosity, and Kaltoft supplies that too. Very good sonics add to the pleasure.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2009

One of the most prolific composers of our time, Per Nørgård has a portfolio of more than four hundred compositions, his seven symphonies acting as milestones in a career of many stylistic changes. From his days as a pupil of Nadia Boulanger in Paris, the accompanying booklet takes us through this evolution, the present disc covering works from 1959 to 2002 and provides a good overview of his music. In his maturity he has composed around thirty works for the keyboard, the six on this disc opening in fun with  A Tortoise’s Tango from 1984 as part of Animals in concert. Much of the disc has been written for or about his friends, which has required Nørgård to embrace some stylistic adjustments, Nine Friends being, to some extent, an enigmatic score as we are left to ponder the people in question. They range from the rather hesitant love of Helle, to the outgoing boisterous Morgens, and finally to the seductive Dinna. From thereon the works are largely abstract, mostly atonal and at times technically demanding. For those who have never willingly entered into the music of the Second Viennese School, it will be rather hard going, but having lived with the disc for two months I would much commend it. The outstanding Danish soloist, Erik Kaltoft, has toured the world though is still better known in his homeland. The sound quality is excellent.

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