Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Børresen, Hakon. (1876-1954) Orchestral works.

From my collection.
Bought in 2011.
Label: Dacapo.
First listen: 5-2-2011.
Second listen: 1-4-2014.
Third listen: 3-5-2017.
Recording dates:  August September 1998.
Recording venue: Symfonien, Aalborg, Danmark.
Recording engineer: Niels Larsen
Running time: 74:56.
Relevance to me, Well worth having.

Works.

Prelude to "The Royal Guest". (1919)
Music for the Ballet "At Uranienborg-Tycho Brahe's Dream". (1924)
Romance for Cello and Orchestra, opus 4. (1903)

Performers.

Henrik Brendstrup, Cello.
Aalborg SO, Owain Arwel Hughes.

Hakon Børresen is a composer almost forgotten. And although he played a major role in the Danish music scene, and was highly appreciated by all, it did not help him to stay in the minds of classical music lovers. Børresen is a Late Romantic composer, with his roots firmly fixed at this period and genre. He never wavered from it. I say he is a brilliant orchestrator, and has a good ear for smashing melodies. All three works on this CD testify to this. There is a transparency in his compositions, that makes all very accessible. There is not much in vivid contrast, but he makes up for it, with beautiful images. It is not that he sheds a new light on familiar music, but rather plays with it, and moulds it into tone pictures of well shaped dynamic refinement. The Royal Guest and the Romance attest to this. The music for the Ballet "At Uranienborg" is quite a challenge, first of all in length, and secondly in musical content. I had a hard time imagining a choreography with this music, for a lot of the music seemed to my ears not suitable to dance on. The work has many episodes of sheer musical beauty, and ingenious melodious solutions, that worked throughout the score. But also lengthy moments that put me almost to sleep, saved only by some creative turn in the music. There is no doubt in my mind that it is an excellent work, but it needs a visual stimuli to grasp the balletic essence. I loved the vividness, and the way he applied luminosity all over the ballet. There is also a inherent warmth and vitality in the proceedings that made me sit through 59:00 minutes of ballet. I never had the feeling that a group of musicians were simply getting through the notes, on the contrary, they brought an enormous creative effort to the work, together with the conductor, to make this recording a success, and it is.
The recording is very good, but I would have loved a bit more brightness overall.





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