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Stephanie Boyd
American Record Guide, May 2020

Laura Mikkola is brilliant here, working with nuance and clarity and just the right amount of emotion for this beautiful and intense work. If you don’t already know Hundsnes’s work, I encourage you to get to know it. © 2020 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Kare Eskola
The Finnish Broadcasting company (Yle), March 2020

Laura Mikkola’s Hundsnes album profoundly unites different musical influences.

The new Hundsnes album by master pianist Laura Mikkola introduces a fascinating composer whose pieces integrate popular music elements exceptionally seamlessly with the richness of art music.

This Grand Piano release is framed by seven Clavinatas, rhythmically lively, at the same time emotionally ambivalent pieces. At the heart of the album is a more wide-ranging and emphatic First Piano Sonata, together with the pop-influenced yet profound Dance Suite Downtoned Beats, which has more distance to actual dance music than was the case with the Baroque dance suite.

To my ears, more than sounding like cross-over, this sounds like pure art music, because influences are so naturally, so deeply and expressively developed. Rhythm and plasticity, free tonality and jazz harmonies, clear ideas and a kaleidoscopic changing palette—all in a good and at the same time unexpected balance.

Laura Mikkola’s traditional, classical approach honours Hundsnes’ aspirations in full, and contributes to the incorporation of these pieces into the piano repertoire. © 2020 The Finnish Broadcasting company (Yle)

Guy Rickards
Gramophone, March 2020

Listening to these piano pieces, beautifully and strongly played by Laura Mikkola, Hundsnes strikes me as something of a crossover artist, and I gather he has worked a good deal in jazz, rock and ‘even funk’.

At times, as in several of the Clavinata pieces, Hundsnes seems to be reimagining Prokofiev-style toccatas. Although separate works, they go together either in small groups or as a larger set quite well, like a series of self-sufficient studies.

The two larger works operate in the same stylistic area. Sonata No 1 is cast in three movements, the outer ones turbulent and energetic framing an étude-like central span. Downtoned Beats is to my mind the most impressive and complete work here, a dance suite in four movements mixing elements and forms from the Baroque as well as modern pop music, though without any hint of pastiche, and creates something new. Grand Piano’s sound is excellent. © 2020 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Trond Erikson
Den Klassiske cd-bloggen, February 2020

The music on this record is varied and intersting. This is also much due to the pianist Laura Mikkola. The performance is convincing, and she takes well care of the dramatic twists and turns created by Hundsnes.

Rhythm and color characterize this recording. In particular, I find the four movements making up “Downtoned Beats” exciting. This is descriptive music, which Mikkola conveys most convincingly. The seven short pieces making up Clavinatas 1–7 are also intriguing. Here the composer constantly varies his rhythmic and thematic material in refreshingly new ways.

Piano Sonata No.1 (2008–2018) is also largely based on rhythmic elements, but the middle movement (which became my little favorite) produces some exquisite sound treatment—well taken care of by Laura Mikkola.

This production is well worth listening to. © 2020 Den Klassiske cd-bloggen

David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2020

Svein Hundsnes has been described as one of Norway’s most important living composers, this release taking his music onto the international recording scene.

Born in 1951 my endeavours to find anything about his background have been unsuccessful, just as the writer of the disc’s sleeve notes seems to have been. So I take the disc at face value with Seven Clavinatas written between 2008 and 2015, the name used to designate short one-movement scores having a relationship with a sonata, funk or jazz influence. To the first-time listener they will have a proactive modernity that owes neither an allegiance to tonality or atonality, but is readily likeable, particularly in the jazzy rhythms of the Third and Fourth, while the complexity of the Fifth and Seventh provides a foil to the Sixth where the Beethoven era makes a fleeting appearance. Begun in 2008 and finished ten years later, the three movements of the First Sonata come from the world of the Clavinatias, the often violent outer ones framing a rather introverted spacious creation. The disc is completed by Downtoned Beats, four movements each with a descriptive title and in very differing tempos. These World Premiere Recordings have been entrusted to the young multi-award winning Finnish pianist, Laura Mikkola, and are captured in well-detailed sound. © 2020 David’s Review Corner

Records International, January 2020

Hundsnes is one of Norway’s most important living composers. He has written a wide-ranging body of music encompassing several vivid styles, moving seamlessly from tonal and non-tonal music to include jazz, rock and even funk. Hundsnes’ sequence of Clavinatas—one-movement free-standing pieces with a symmetrical form that often include toccata-like vitality—embody qualities that make his music so distinctive. Often syncopated, they possess short motifs, intensity and emotional ambiguity. The sonata and Downtoned Beats reflect his delight in drama and dance grooves. © 2020 Records International

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