Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Ben Wilkie
Limelight, September 2017

An agile Helsinki Philharmonic under Storgårds makes easy work of Rasmussen’s imaginative, acrobatic, and sometimes outrageously frantic scoring. They perform convincingly alongside weighty male choirs and vocal soloists, Cyndia Sieden and Bo Skovhus, on a sharp, high-quality recording. © 2017 Limelight Read complete review

Jeremy Pound
BBC Music Magazine, April 2017

The Faroese composer Sunleif Rasmussen doesn’t hold back in this large-scale, myth-inspired symphony that ranges from aggresively percussive to otherworldly and downright creepy. © 2017 BBC Music Magazine

Andrew Mellor
Gramophone, January 2017

Rasmussen’s scoring is outrageously imaginative here and, in fact, everywhere; his huge, writhing and wriggling orchestral depths are often topped out by frantic, glistening high winds. The whole is peppered with ear-catching instrumental effects that the Helsinki players take in their stride, as if they rehearsed for two weeks solid (they probably did). Bo Skovhus is warm of voice but tears into his baritone solos; Sieden is clear as a bell; and the choirs sing with grain and weight. New music of a very, very high quality in a thrilling performance—and we have Storgårds to thank for both. © 2017 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2016

Born in the Faroe Islands, Sunleif Rasmussen was already fifty-four when he committed himself to write his Second Symphony subtitled ‘The Earth Anew’. Having spent some years working in the field of jazz, he was in his late twenties before he began serious compositional education, those studies soon resulting in his first symphony, Oceanic Days. It was to place him among the most promising Nordic composers of his time, and it was for a concert by the Helsinki Philharmonic to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Sibelius’s birth, that he was offered the formidable task of composing a symphony to share the programme with Sibelius’s Kullervo tone-poem. For inspiration, he turned to Old Norse folklore and came up with the idea of a vocal symphony relating the legend of the ash, Yggdrasil. From that point, I will have to leave you to read the disc’s programme notes, as the story would take up the remainder of this review. Suffice it to say that it is scored for soprano, baritone, chorus and large orchestra, and is shaped in a conventional four movements, the score as a whole falling within the orbit of accessible twentieth century Nordic music. Tonal colours are thickly daubed onto the musical canvass, often at length, the fourth movement unremittingly aggressive until peace is restored in the closing bars. For the soprano, it is an exhausting score, often at the very top of her vocal range, the baritone having a much easier life, Bo Skovhus bringing a warmth to the music whenever he is allowed. For the Helsinki Philharmonic, it was a test of stamina, as wave after wave of fortissimo writing is unleashed. For the sound engineer, it was no less a challenge, cataclysmic music accommodated in the most stunning sound, with due prominence given to the important timpani. At the helm, and keeping everything together, the conductor, John Storgårds, has enjoyed another major success. Finally, congratulations to Dacapo for making it all possible. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group