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Gudmundsen-holmgreen: For Piano, Plateaux / Puhjonen, Et Al

Release Date: 02/24/2009 
Label:  Dacapo   Catalog #: 6220533   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgree
Performer:  Juho Puhjonen
Conductor:  Ed Spanjaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
SuperAudio CD:  $17.99
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.


GUDMUNDSEN-HOLMGREEN Plateaux. For Piano Juho Pohjonen (pn); Ed Spanjaard, cond; Danish Natl SO dacapo 6.220533 (59:52)

Danish composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen has one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary music. In my last encounter with his work I was delighted Read more by his sense for texture, melodic gift, and lack of pomposity in his Concerto grosso. But I also found myself numbed by the limited dynamics over a relatively long span, especially in a single-movement piece. With this 2005 music for piano and orchestra, Gudmundsen-Holmgreen goes to an opposite extreme, breaking up a nearly 40-minute work into nine movements. He covers a broad range of styles and languages, at times quite abstract, and elsewhere nostalgic (Mozart has the last say), but remarkably, it all holds together, defying the constant danger of lapsing into pastiche. Gudmundsen-Holmgreen finds a narrative flow that gives the sprawling piece an architectural integrity, with a palpable sense of a beginning, middle, and end. His refreshingly normal emotional equilibrium is reflected in natural shifts from deep contemplation to visceral power, to spirited and smart humor. The riff on Mozart reminded me of the brilliant work inspired by classical music from the jazz pianist Uri Caine. On the whole, Gudmundsen-Holmgreen writes, at this juncture in his career, with apparent confidence in his bold and personal technique. It is impossible not to be beguiled by his unique manner of expression, but ultimately, it is the expression itself that remains, as the tools fade to the background, where they belong.

The 1992 For Piano is a similar mix of beauty and adventure. The last movement, “Keep Going (Little Bird, Blue)” is a touching, highly personal homage to the blues. Gudmundsen-Holmgreen writes music that can be complex, but it rarely appears as overtly virtuosic. Performances are faultless to the ear, that is, without benefit of the score as a reference, they sound idiomatic and committed. Special kudos to the excellent Danish orchestra, which sounds fully engaged, and, dare one say it, having a lot of fun. These are world premiere recordings.

FANFARE: Peter Burwasser
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Works on This Recording

For Piano by Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgree
Performer:  Juho Puhjonen (Piano)
Conductor:  Ed Spanjaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Plateaux for Piano and Orchestra by Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgree
Performer:  Juho Puhjonen (Piano)
Conductor:  Ed Spanjaard
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 

Sound Samples

Plateaux: I. Brut
Plateaux: II. Simple. Presque rien
Plateaux: III. Murmure
Plateaux: IV. Brut
Plateaux: V. Brut
Plateaux: VI. Sombre. Simple
Plateaux: VII. Murmure dans la boue
Plateaux: VIII. Composition
Plateaux: IX. En majeur
For Piano: I. Sound and Silence
For Piano: II. Lullaby
For Piano: III. Keep Going (Little Bird, Blue)

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