Friday, June 23, 2017

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

From my collection.
Bought in 2007.
First listen: 14/15-11-2007.
Second listen: 23-6-2017.
Label: CPO.
Recording dates:  May 1995 & October 1997.
Recording venue: Studio 1 Hessischer Rundfunk, Germany.
Recording engineer: Rüdiger Orth.
Running time: 69:19
Relevance to me: Essential.


Works performed:
Symphony No. 2 in A major, opus 7, "The Sea". (1904)
Symphony No. 3 in C major, opus 21. (1927)

Works performed by:
Radio-Sinfonie-Orchester-Frankfurt, Ole Schmidt.


We all underestimate this pupil from Johan Svendsen, with whom he took 4 years of tuition to learn the trade of composing. And listening to both Symphonies I come to the conclusion, that he is one who can stand with perfect justification amongst the ranks of Svendsen, Stenhammar, Grieg, Sibelius and Nielsen. I have heard enough from Scandinavian composers to say this with confidence.
The Second symphony "The Sea", has as an inspiration The Skagen, a large sea, at the Northernmost tip of Denmark. It was dedicated to Johan Svendsen.
A complex and extremely beautiful work, that delivers what he wanted to describe.  This guy is a super romantic composer, who was not fazed by modernity, and he ignored it, much to my joy. I would have been perfectly happy if modernity would stop with the music Borresen composed. He shows me, how much there was and still is to say in terms of romantic music. I got the constant impression that every movement of this Symphony is a Tone Poem, with a beginning, middle part, and a firm closing. His aptitude in scoring is quite remarkable, and the way the music is constructed has me in constant awe....
The Third symphony was the last major Symphony he wrote. He dedicated it to the orchestra of the Royal Theatre, this work brings all the best features of Børresen orchestral works together, it is in my ears a masterwork. The instrumentation is sublime, and the many dazzling melodies, has me again listening in awe. He stays true to his Nordic tradition and his romantic ideals, and you could also say that this work is the crowning of all his orchestral works. Why this composer is overlooked and forgotten, is a mystery to me, he should be revered for his huge contribution in classical music. 
The recording is top notch, and the performance can hardly be bettered. 
*
I have listened on 24-4-2017 to a different recording on the label Dacapo from which I took this review. The performers in this case were Aalborg SO, under Owain Arwel Hughes. As an interpretation they are both good, but what clinched the deal for me in favour of the Ole Schmidt performance were the tempi. Especially in the second symphony it is considerably faster, as is the third, be it less so. It adds this extra cutting edge feeling to the music. Rhythmically it is simply delivering the message in a more concise way, coupled with a better recording. But both are worthwhile to have.


L'Orgue Classique Français 1650-1800. 150 ans de musique du Grand Siècle à la Révolution Française.CD 2.

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