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Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, August 2012

Per Norgard’s… new disk Sceneries for Percussion and Ensemble…gives the listener four substantial works in the chamber mode. The first two, “Prelude to Breaking” for eight instruments (1986) and “Four Meditations” for seven instruments (2010) get a full and detailed sound in a mini-chamber orchestra zone. These are very charactered works, tonal and extra-tonal, narrative in flow and yet filled with abstractions at times, different enough that after five listens I find an appreciation growing in me and the need to hear them more.

“Arabesques” for solo percussion (2011) is in part based on a motif from the concluding work. It has texture and ornament, moments of great rhythmic drama, and also more quiescent interludes.

I much liked the composer’s handling of the other instruments, and found the entire matrix of varied, ornate, sometimes powerful percussion versus contrapuntally charged chamber instruments quite original and earworthy.

And that is my general reaction to the disk. Martinez and the Esbjerg Ensemble under Petter Sundkvist does justice to the sophisticated, unusual music. © 2012 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review

Lawson Taitte
The Dallas Morning News

NORGARD, P.: Sceneries (Martinez, Esbjerg Ensemble, Sundkvist) 8.226092
LINDBERG, M.: Chamber Works - Trio / Santa Fe Project / Partia / 2 Coyotes (Kriikku, Karttunen, M. Lindberg) ODE1199-2

Finnish composer Magnus Lindberg…writes in an epic style even for a small body of instruments, such as the 2008 Clarinet Trio here. The piano part he plays himself cascades notes like some mighty waterfall, while Anssi Karttunen on cello heroically scrapes out chords and Kari Kriikku’s clarinet squeals in protest. The movement titles say it all: “Sound big, sound,” “Like the tranquility we seek,” and “Crash wave, crash.” That finale generates a powerful rhythmic impetus but ends with an ethereal chorale.

Four Meditations and Three Scenes pit the soloist against the Esbjerg Ensemble under conductor Petter Sundkvist. The most recent work on the disc, 2010’s Arabesques, is for percussion solo. Here Nørgård’s textures are closer to what you expect from percussion pieces, but still subtle rather than banged out. If most composers use these instruments to overpower, he seeks to seduce with them. © 2012 Dallas News

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