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Tom Moore
American Record Guide, January 2017

The performances and recording do full justice to a composer that on the evidence of these works deserves a firmer place in the repertoire. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found, October 2016

Our performers for these works are drawn from the Danish Sinfonietta (aka Randers Chamber Orchestra), whose artistic director and chief conductor is Scottish-born David Riddell. Under him they make a strong case for the Decet, while four of their string players leave the ensemble to give a stunning performance of the technically demanding Quartet.

The Decet musicians are positioned in conventional symphony orchestra fashion, thereby giving a somewhat wider soundstage than that for the Quartet. All of the instruments are well captured and balanced in both works, making this a demonstration grade disc. © 2016 Classical Lost and Found Read complete review



Ralph Graves
WTJU, October 2016

Members of the Danish Sinfonietta, under the direction of David Riddell, turn in unapologetic performances of these obscure masterworks that bring the music to life. © 2016 WTJU Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2016

Born in 1857, the Danish-born Gustav Helsted was an outcast as a composer in his lifetime and now almost forgotten, though this disc shows it to be most unjustified. He gained a high reputation as an organist in Copenhagen, eventually holding that position at the city’s Cathedral, and it was with that financial backdrop that he composed a modest output as various as an opera, symphonic scores and chamber music. So far as commentators at the time were concerned, he was too interested in Germanic music to enter into the vogue of Danish Romanticism, the Decet, for five wind instruments and string quintet, being a child of Wagner and strongly related to Richard Strauss. Had it carried either of their names it would have been part of our standard repertoire. The scoring is highly imaginative; the mood of the four movements—it lasts for a little over half an hour—nicely varied; the bird calls of the opening setting the scene of a Wagnerian forest. Folk music provided the basic ingredients of the second and third movements, with a finale of wide tempo changes that oscillate between dignified restraint and vivacious happiness. If Helsted’s use of tonal colours at his disposal is impressive, the String Quartet from 1917 is something out of the ordinary, each of the four movements grasps attention by its abundance of melodic invention. His use of the four instruments produces a most interesting series of dialogues, the scherzo bubbling with energy, while the powerful finale is as good as anything you will find in the late Romantic era. I will take the performances from the Danish Sinfonietta at face value, and with superb sound quality, this will probably be my ‘discovery of the year’. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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