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Karl F. Miller
Fanfare, September 2020

The playing of Christiana Åstrand is remarkable. She exhibits remarkable control and understanding at every turn of the Gudmundsen-Holmgreen. To my ears the demands on her playing and that of Per Salo are minimal in the Madsen, yet both of them sound completely committed to the music. The playing of Danish National Symphony under both Ryan Bancroft and Nicholas Collon is superb, as is the remarkably excellent sound quality. © 2020 Fanfare Read complete review



Richard Hanlon
MusicWeb International, February 2020

Christina Åstrand is outstanding throughout but the warmth Nicholas Collon draws from the Danish National Symphony Orchestra (and his superb pacing of the piece) suggests that this performance was deeply felt by all concerned. Like his almost exact contemporary Per Nørgård, Pelle Gudmunsen-Holmgreen has created a body of work which is instantly recognisable and often profoundly beautiful—one fervently hopes that over future decades the world outside Denmark continues to appreciate the fact. Dacapo have certainly done his memory proud with this recording. © 2020 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, January 2020

In all we get two bird’s-eye views of the Pomo Modern Danish concertante possibilities in the present day. Both composers find their own manner of creating a post-Minimalist dialectic between “same” and “different” that does not resort to classical form but instead forges forward each in its own way. Happily recommended for new adventure music seekers. © 2020 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2020

Three years ago we said a sad farewell to the composer, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, three years before the work from Allan Gravgaard Madsen was finished.

That father of Danish music has taken the listener into uncharted territory almost totally severing links with traditional composition, each new work divorced from the previous one. He would have accepted the title ‘maverick’ as a complement, For Violin and Orchestra being in no way a violin concerto, the music at times created by solitary notes taking the place of melodic progression. Then we suddenly hear in the opening movement a quotation we know to the words ‘There’s no place like home’. There is no great change in a basically slow tempo throughout, though metronome markings are the only indication as to the composer’s requirements. The second movement is a moment of rare beauty; the fifth offering, in the orchestral part, a degree of impact. In conventional terminology this is not a virtuoso score for the solo violin, but it presents considerable difficulties, here played by the concertmaster of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Christina Astrand. The lengthy coupling Nachtmusik, is in three movements and commissioned by the orchestra from the young Danish composer, Allan Gravgaard Madsen. The request was a score for the orchestra, together with Astrand and her husband, the pianist, Per Salo. It has the feel of apparitions and spooky nights, and to traditionalists it will be a work often couched in the inactivity of night, while to others it will be a composition looking for new avenues, just as the Minimanalist composers have ventured down repetition. Obviously very dedicated participants, extremely well recorded. © 2020 David’s Review Corner



Records International, January 2020

Madsen’s double concerto is original and powerful, and it is very clear why he regarded Gudmundsen-Holmgreen as a mentor and inspiration, as this work follows a trajectory very similar to that of many of the older composer’s works, of progressing inexorably toward a wholly logical conclusion of emotional catharsis, unguessable from its ambiguous beginnings. Most of the first movement literally consists of one note, E, passed back and forth between the soloists, gradually expanding its range of articulation, color, and rhythm. Little by little, octave transpositions occur, the level of activity increases, then the orchestra joins in and divergent pitches begin to emerge with increasing density and momentum. A pulsating rhythm and full, consonant harmonies herald the work’s throbbing, post-minimalistic propulsive central movement. Harmony and timbre continue to expand, and a sudden accelerando leads to the fast, effervescent, dancing finale. © 2020 Records International Read complete review





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