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Luke Pfeil
American Record Guide, July 2018

The Nielsen Fantasy Pieces were originally written for oboe and piano, but Abrahamsen has chosen the same scoring as the Mozart oboe quartet (oboe, violin, viola, and cello). This is a delightful transcription, easily as enjoyable as in its original form.

The Ensemble MidtVest does a laudable job with the emotion and styles in this program. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Leslie Wright
MusicWeb International, September 2017

The 10 Preludes, placed last on the disc, display a broad variety of influences from the music of Abrahamsen’s mentor, György Ligeti, to the Danish New Simplicity movement. …this rather odd quartet receives a fine performance by Ensemble MidtVest.

The other original work, Six Pieces for Violin, Horn, and Piano, begins the disc’s programme and is a much more unified composition. …Again, the instrumentalists here do not disappoint. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Richard Whitehouse
Gramophone, September 2017

Members of Ensemble MidtVest do justice to these, as also two of this composer’s numerous arrangements, the languor of Satie’s Gymnopédies and the animation of Nielsen’s Fantasy Pieces, both emerging newly minted for oboe and strings. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2017

One certain thing when reviewing a disc of music by the Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen is that you will have little or no idea what you are about to hear. So you approach it with caution and are then surprised to find a relationship with Webern in the First String Quartet created in the form of Ten Preludes that last, in total, less than twenty minutes. Here, as with Webern, Abrahamsen says everything he wishes within a concise period, the work passing through so many differing moods as it moves between tonality and atonality. The third prelude is a simple string of notes that create a feeling of sadness which recurs in a melody of the fifth, while the ninth and tenth are straight from the Baroque era, and the finale is in dance rhythm. Composed in 1973, while at the close of his student days, the Six Pieces for violin, horn and piano came eleven years later. They are also short in duration, notes often sparingly used, the general feeling being that of atonality. I find it hard to begin to come to terms with the work or his musical intentions. From therein, the appearance of new works became increasingly spasmodic, culminating in a series of two arrangements. Scored for oboe and string quartet, Satie’s Gymnopedies, sounds as charming as ever, though I would have enjoyed tempos from Ensemble MidtVest that were a fraction faster. The jewel of the disc is Nielsen’s Two Fantasy Pieces originally for oboe and piano, the textures here ‘opened up’ by the use of an oboe and string trio. I am sure Nielsen would have approved. © 2017 David’s Review Corner



Records International, July 2017

The Satie Gymnopedies were just waiting to be transcribed by Abrahamsen; their gentle, graceful melancholy is superbly rendered in dark, muted tones in his somberly respectful arrangements. The youthful Nielsen pieces likewise have their intrinsic character subtly emphasized by Abrahamsen’s string timbres exploring the inner workings of the original piano parts. The combination of sorrowful seriousness and impertinent joyous swagger that remained characteristic of Nielsen’s mature music are pointed up beautifully by these transcriptions. © 2017 Records International Read complete review




Kate Molleson
The Guardian, June 2017

Hans Abrahamsen writes music that is clear and careful… His First String Quartet came out shouting, fist in the air, a manifesto of 10 short preludes that rage in reverse from full-on atonalism to full-on baroque pastiche. …Ensemble MidtVest has the diligence to keep them hushed, the urgency to propel his sombre Six Pieces for Violin, Horn and Piano. © 2017 The Guardian Read complete review





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