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5 against 4, December 2010

Best Album of 2010 – # 36

The year’s most exhilarating chamber music release seems to have fallen under the radar of most reviewers • It showcases a cluster of Danish composers, their respective quartets bound together in a series of brief electronic studies by Morten Riis • The spirit of Helmut Lachenmann seems to permeate many of the pieces, which, despite being far removed from conventional styles & manners, avoid lapsing into mere novelty & empty gestures • Perhaps most striking is Jexper Holmen’s Intend/Ascend, an epic struggle placing the players at the limits of their instruments (or should that be the instruments at the limits of their players?); in Holmen’s words, “the music burns through the surface of the instruments…”

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