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Harry van der Wal
Harry’s classical music corner, April 2017

…this music does deserve a place in Norwegian classical music, for it is extremely beautiful and easy to approach. Basically it is very romantic music, broad spectrum warmth with considerable emotional depth, …It is simply a stunning and fascinating work, orchestrated with great skill.

Phil Rowlands made a fine recording of [disc], and the performance is a matching partner. © 2017 Harry’s classical music corner Read complete review

Barry Forshaw
Classical CD Choice, April 2012

Now here is a real find: the music on this CD contains some of the most unusual and interesting examples of Norwegian orchestral composing of the 1940s and 50s. This premiere recording of the composer’s Symphony is a particularly winning piece; not notably challenging in form, it nevertheless offers some subtle challenges for the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, which rises spectacularly to the occasion. © 2012 Classical CD Choice

Paul A. Snook
Fanfare, March 2012

this symphony’s high seriousness of manner and beautifully intertwining themes make it one of the glories of the 20th-century Scandinavian repertoire. Thus it is a pleasure to welcome this stupendous performance to the recorded catalog, one not to be missed by anyone interested in the modern symphony. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

Steven Kruger
Fanfare, March 2012

Bjarte Engeset and the Bournemouth Symphony give deeply committed performances…and sound totally at home in Irgens-Jensen’s music. Listeners will know Engeset’s work with this group from his fine recording of the Svendsen symphonies. This is a conductor who phrases naturally and effectively. We will surely hear more from him…The sound on the CD is all one could wish for. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare

Don O’Connor
American Record Guide, January 2012

Admirers of Scandinavian music who know Irgens-Jensen…won’t be disappointed here. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

Nick Barnard
MusicWeb International, October 2011

This fine disc embodies the fickle nature of musical fame and fate. This is music of depth yet instant appeal. For any collector who responds to large-scale orchestral scores written in a freely tonal manner this is powerfully compelling listening. …I have not heard a note before this disc. So congratulations and praise to Naxos for another winner of a disc.

The Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra prove themselves yet again to be astonishingly versatile playing music which by definition must be unfamiliar with real conviction and abundant virtuosic skill. No doubt in this they are helped greatly by the fact that the conductor Bjarte Engeset is an expert on this composer’s music—this is evident from the fact that this world premiere recording of the Symphony in D minor is in the performing edition prepared by Engeset.

Engineer Phil Rowlands has managed to tame the resonance of the recording venue—The Lighthouse, Poole—which in the past I have found clouds some of the detail of the BSO recordings there. This disc strikes a fine balance between detail and warmth. The orchestral sound-field is convincingly spread left to right with good depth too.

The discovery of many little known Scandinavian composers has been one of my collecting highlights in recent years mainly down to the endeavours of the BIS and CPO labels but this disc from Naxos proves to be another major discovery on that pleasurable voyage. An excellent disc that reflects great credit on all concerned.

David Hurwitz, October 2011

Ludvig Irgens-Jensen’s Passacaglia of 1928, music of unaffected grandeur and nobility, is one of the monuments of the Scandinavian orchestral repertoire. It receives a powerful performance from Bjarte Engeset and the Bournemouth Symphony, particularly when the brass weigh in with the concluding chorale. The work has been recorded before, and quite well too…but certainly this performance ranks with the best available.

The performance is as fine as we have any right to expect, and the sonics are both rich and vivid. Might we look forward to a badly needed new version of the Partita Sinfonica from these same forces?

Film Music: The Neglected Art, September 2011

“Air” is a short piece that is a song arranged for orchestra. It begins with a lovely clarinet solo offering the melody until the strings pick up the melody…

I must give an extra star to the liner notes written by the conductor Bjarte Engeset who obviously has a great fondness for Ludvig. This is a Naxos CD to be explored.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2011

Born in Norway in 1894, Ludvig Irgens-Jensen was gifted in a wide spectrum of the arts, but it was in the field of music that he received most recognition. He learned the piano but never studied composition at the conservatory, and was to plough his own furrow in a world of melodic tonality that was becoming increasingly unfashionable. That said, his symphony shows a personal harmonic language and an acute awareness of the colours that his orchestration could produce. It dates from 1942, by which time his country was occupied by the Germans, the opening movement expressing anger and frustration. The second, by contrast, opens quietly as if looking forward to a time when peace is restored and Norway would return to the beauty of its tranquil vistas. There was a third movement which he later withdrew, changing the end of the second movement to a mood of final triumph. It still represented a lengthy score, but here we have that final movement included as was originally intended. You can read many things into it, the march at the central point distorted to point the dislike of an invading army. But whatever the import, the music forms a dramatic conclusion in a mood of optimism. Sadly after this recording was made, the original ending to the second movement was discovered. The 1928 prize winning success of the Passacaglia had brought the composer initial international recognition, and it is certainly a fine score of easy attraction. A short Air from 1959 completes a disc conducted by Bjarte Engeset and performed as if the music was in the Bournemouth orchestra’s regular repertoire. If mainstream symphonies at the close of the 19th century appeal to you, do try this one. Excellent sound quality.

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