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Holmboe: Chamber Symphonies / Storgards, Lapland Chamber Orchestra

Holmboe / Lapland Chamber Orch / Storgards
Release Date: 07/31/2012 
Label:  Dacapo   Catalog #: 6220621   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Vagn Holmboe
Conductor:  John Storgårds
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lapland Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Vagn Holmboe’s three chamber symphonies span the latter half of his career, from 1951 to 1970. They are wonderful works: sophisticated, tightly contracted, imaginatively scored, and approachable without the slightest suggestion of pandering. The composer’s modern, neoclassical idiom prevails. The quick movements surge forward with rhythmic vitality, while the lyrical slow writing shows evidence of Holmboe’s engagement with the music of Bartók (consider the Adagio of Chamber Symphony No. 1). The first chamber symphony is scored for a small ensemble, but the scoring becomes more varied as the series progresses. No. 2 makes imaginative use of the celesta, while No. 3 introduces a
Read more discerning but colorful percussion contingent. You can sample the finale of the Third Chamber Symphony below.

The performances here are exceptional. John Storgards and the Lapland Chamber Orchestra play with an attention to detail, precision of ensemble, and clarity of texture that can only be called perfect. Although the ensemble is small, the massed strings project a surprising richness in the slow music, and never sound tired or sloppy when called (as they often are) to generate propulsive accompaniments to the winds. Similarly, the percussion adds color and rhythmic snap but never dominates. Part of the success of the production stems from the crystal-clear engineering, whether in regular stereo or SACD playback. Holmboe was an important, consistently excellent composer, and this release constitutes a major addition to his growing discography.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Chamber Symphony no 1, Op. 53 by Vagn Holmboe
Conductor:  John Storgårds
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lapland Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Denmark 
Chamber Symphony no 2, Op. 100, "Elegy" by Vagn Holmboe
Conductor:  John Storgårds
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lapland Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Denmark 
Chamber Symphony no 3, Op. 103a, "Frise" (Frieze) by Vagn Holmboe
Conductor:  John Storgårds
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Lapland Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: Denmark 

Sound Samples

Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 53: I. Andante assai
Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 53: II. Animato
Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 53: III. Adagio
Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 53: IV. Allegro assai
Chamber Symphony No. 2, Op. 100, "Elegy": I. Andante fluente
Chamber Symphony No. 2, Op. 100, "Elegy": II. Presto
Chamber Symphony No. 2, Op. 100, "Elegy": III. Adagio
Chamber Symphony No. 2, Op. 100, "Elegy": IV. Allegro con brio
Chamber Symphony No. 3, Op. 103a, "Frise" (Frieze): I. Tempo giusto - Sereno con variazioni
Chamber Symphony No. 3, Op. 103a, "Frise" (Frieze): II. Allegro vivace
Chamber Symphony No. 3, Op. 103a, "Frise" (Frieze): III. Lento e tranquillo
Chamber Symphony No. 3, Op. 103a, "Frise" (Frieze): IV. Grave con metamorfosi
Chamber Symphony No. 3, Op. 103a, "Frise" (Frieze): V. Intermezzo: Chiaro
Chamber Symphony No. 3, Op. 103a, "Frise" (Frieze): VI. Allegro con forza

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 A chance to hear good works that should be better July 31, 2012 By Daniel Coombs See All My Reviews "Vagn Holmboe, not exactly a household name, is often considered to be the most important Danish symphony composer since Carl Nielsen. His music is characteristically tonal and quite accessible. This recording of his Chamber Symphonies #1-4 offers a wonderful chance to get to know his symphonic output. Holmboe’s works written largely between 1950 –1970 (of which these are prime examples) show a use of small motives and thematic fragments as the basis for larger scale construction (similar to what Sibelius did). It is said that his earlier works show the influence of composers such as Bartók and a little bit of Carl Nielsen and Dmitri Shostakovich. I think listening carefully to these very nice and dramatic works will reveal some of this but, in many ways, Holmboe’s music is its own style and has a unique flavor. Interestingly, some of Holmboe’s students are fairly well known in the contemporary European music scene, including the works of Per Norgard and Bent Sorensen. Each of these works is a very fine piece deserving to be heard more often. The Chamber Symphony #1, dating from 1951, is the most “classical” sounding with a most attractive and tension filled Adagio that does bear more than a passing resemblance to Bartok and a driving, propulsive Allegro assai. The Chamber Symphony #2 has a very different feel to it. Subtitled “Elegy”, Holmboe wrote this during a period of self-doubt (1968), during which he was at odds with some of his most talented young pupils (including Norgard and Ib Norholm). The actual controversies as well as the tone in the music is a near “battle” between some of the traditional sounds for which Holmboe became known and the modernism espoused by the younger generation. The Chamber Symphony #3 is another captivating and very unique work with an interesting history. Written as a work to celebrate the installation of a sculpture by the artist, and friend of Holmboe’s, Arne Hansen, the artist’s work was actually modeled after the titles and feel of the individual movements of the musical work. This unique collaboration also resulted in Holmboe later writing a choral version of the piece and, later, the two men collaborated on a multi-media work, Music for Birds and Frogs. This piece, of the three has the most unusual structure (six movements) and a sense of thematic writing to it that exudes the visual. This recording by the amazing Laplands Chamber Orchestra under the most talented John Storgards is brilliant, lively and spacious (in the SACD format, the acoustics and presence are terrific!) I think this is an important release that most people would truly enjoy. Highly recommended!" Report Abuse
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