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David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2015

Sunleif Rasmussen is one of the most progressive among Nordic composers of the younger generation, having been born and brought up in the remote Faroe Islands. You will hear a mix of tonality and atonality in works where he still seems to be flexing his musical muscles, the earliest score, Like the Golden Sun, completed when he was twenty-two in 1993, and shows his attraction to sound pictures, odd though some of those five pictures turn out to be. It also shows his use of electronics, in this case a judiciously used ‘effect processor’ to add to a piano part with a close relationship to Messiaen. Then turn to one of his most recent scores, Suite for guitar and effect processor and you have a work with each of the five movements carrying a Baroque title, the score firmly embedded in tonality, its content expressed in beautiful sounds. More conventional in its layout is the trio of clarinet, violin and piano used in Dancing Raindrops, a score leaning towards atonality, while Mozaik consists of fragments from his first symphony using the same instruments with the addition of a flute, a score strongly resembling electronics. In the midst comes a very recent work, Andalag, with its Impressionistic attractions for two flutes. The ensemble, formed by young Faroese musicians, is of very high quality in a top quality recording. © 2015 David’s Review Corner

Todd Gorman
American Record Guide, November 2011

These compositions…prove more important to fans of the avant-garde interested in sound effects...

The new-music group Aldubaran plays…superbly.

To read the complete review, please visit American Record Guide online.

Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, June 2011

Rigorously conceived modernism joins hands with visionary poetics in the chamber music of Sunleif Rasmussen, at least in his recent album Dancing Raindrops (Aldubaran) (dacapo 8.226567). The musical syntax is generally abstract, dialogic yet lyrical as well. The title piece “Dancing Raindrops” suggests of course a natural landscape with clarinet, violin and piano initially engaging in deceptively random yet interdependent interactions that become increasingly dense and lively, suggesting the natural rhythms of rain falling and periodicity-order within a naturally chaotic state.

“Suite” (2007), a piece for guitar and effects processor, begins as a lively modern classical guitar piece, then enters into denser voicings that begin to be shaded by electronic alteration, until it becomes aetherial, almost harp-like. The music expands further to a kind of cosmic canopy of sound that is not unattractive.

The short flute duet, “Andalag #2,” again suggests natural processes, mediated by a poetic sensibility.

“Like the Golden Sun” (1993), for piano and effect processor again begins with conventional acoustic soundings, this time in a pan-tonal, expressive-rhapsodic mode. There are cycles of relative agitation and repose, until a playful motif enters for piano and echo, followed by a dynamically integrated sound excursion for piano clusters and their electronic transformation. It’s quite dramatic. The final movement introduces mystery with bell-like transformations of piano sounds.

The program concludes with “Mozaik/Miniature” (1999) for flute, clarinet, piano and violin. Its a very evocative piece with longer lines interacting with shorter contrapuntal punctuations in piano and winds. Again the techniques of modernism are utlized to poetic ends.

Sunleif Rasmussen has given us an intriguing look at his musical world on this album. It teases the listener with just enough of each sound universe to want more. As it is it is a most enchanted program that delights as it spins its various webs of delicate sound events. It will no doubt be appreciated by any enthusiast of modern chamber music and it sets expectations for longer works to come. Highly recommended.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2011

Born in the Faroe Islands, you will be experiencing a spectrum of new sounds from Sunleif Rasmussen often based on his collection of local folk songs. Born in 1961 he became a student at the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen, and there he came into contact with the latest sounds, particularly those generated by electronics that play an important role in the Suite for Guitar and the piano piece, Like The Golden Sun. The booklet informs that the songs he has collected are broken down and refashioned in modern garb. I would add that it is a ‘very modern garb’ the sounds of guitar and effect processor in the Suite are stimulating, while the short Andalag finds something new for two flutes. Where he and I come together is in the final work, Mozaik/Miniature, where he uses music from his first symphony, and with four instruments—flute, clarinet, violin and piano—he has so much more scope to employ his very fertile creativity. The performances come from Aldubaran, a group of 14 musicians formed in the Faroe Islands to promote their national music. It can, as here, be broken down into segments, and they are highly impressive. Try Dancing Raindrops for clarinet, violin and piano to get a comprehensive feel of the disc. Very up-front sound.

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