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Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, May 2016

Trio Ismena is violinist Monika Malmquist, cellist Ida Nørholm, and pianist Christine Raft. They play these works expertly and, in fact, several of the composers dedicated their work specifically to them. Don’t wait for the next blizzard to acquaint yourself with them, or with these recent trios, modest in content and proportions, but grand in their integrity. © 2016 Fanfare Read complete review



Gary Higginson
MusicWeb International, February 2016

…two works, those by Koch and Norholm, really strike home. …It’s good [to] have a chance to hear all five works so superbly played. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Bruce Reader
The Classical Reviewer, January 2016

Here we have five very fine works that, in different ways bring much enjoyment. There isn’t one disappointing work here.

Trio Ismena provide first rate performances, often bringing a real eloquence. © 2016 The Classical Reviewer Read complete review



Andrew Mellor
Gramophone, January 2016

Lars Hegaard’s Like a Cube of Silence (2010) is direct and refreshing, like a structure whose parts you can see, music slightly apart from Denmark’s modernist establishment in expression yet absolutely sharing its clarity and openness. But the standout work comes from Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone



David Denton
David's Review Corner, October 2015

In the last fifty years Danish music has undergone a considerable change, its major composers rejecting the present reactionary ideas that turn back the musical clock. Atonality derived from the Second Viennese School is their starting point, this disc’s journey beginning in 1993 with Svend Hvidtfelt Nielsen’s Divertimento. Commissioned as fanfare for an official occasion at Egeskov Castle, Nielsen relates that he is not very good at composing jubilant music, and left that moment for the work’s short finale. At least the three movements that go before are so introverted, with long periods of silence when you check your equipment is still working, that any type of finale was bound to sound joyous by comparison. Six years later Ib Nørholm’s Third Piano Trio, ‘Essai in memoriam’, was composed “in memory of music as such”. In that he has been singularly successful, the score meandering through atonality and all it stands for, the busy finale ending in mid-air with the question, ‘where do we go from here?’. Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen’s Moments musicaux might have the answer in a jigsaw of styles and sounds moving through various emotions from Talking, Shouting to Humming, Whispering. Maybe the composer is attracted to Minimalism, or maybe just toying with tonality, but he certainly uses other people’s music to fill out his score. Like a Cube of Silence is a quotation from a novel Lars Hegaard had read, its five short sections both active and attractive. Finally we reach 2011 with Jesper Koch’s cleverly crafted Piano Trio in three movements—Symmetries, Reflections and Contrasts—where he divides his influences between yesterday and today’s musical world. Dedicated to Trio Ismena, the young group who have rapidly found a place among today’s outstanding chamber groups, and here show a dedication and affinity to modern Danish music. © 2015 David’s Review Corner





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