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Cat. No. CHAN 10249 Price: £5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10249 - Danish National Symphony Choir - Scandinavian Songs
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Available From: 06 September 2004
With its brilliant orchestral accompaniment, Wilhelm Stenhammar’s ballad of two medieval lovers, Florez och Blanzeflor, reveals the influence of the works of Wagner. The tempestuous Ithaka, which has been referred to as a symphonic poem for orchestra with obligato voice, provides a contrast. Peter Heise was a supreme composer of vocal music. Kongesønnens Romance (The Prince’s Romance) is taken from the concert piece Tornerose (Sleeping Beauty) and Vaagn af din Slummer (Wake from your slumber) from seven songs composed for the romantic drama of chivalry Bertran de Born. The songs of Peter Erasmus Lange-Müller are among the best of the late romantic period in Denmark. His three Sange ved Havet (Songs by the Sea) are linked together by the imagery of the sea, but also by the theme of loss.

The epic Stormen paa Kjøbenhavn by the Danish composer Otto Malling is a nationalist song about the Swedish attack on Copenhagen in 1659. The strophic setting of Skjaldens Sang (The Bard’s Song) comes from Carl Nielsen’s incidental music for the allegorical play Moderen (The Mother). Its light 6/8 rhythm is

typical of the composer’s simple Danish melodic style. Sænk kun dit Hoved, du Blomst (Just bow your head, oh flower) is a piece of nature poetry, to which Nielsen responds with a simple sensitive accompaniment.

Grieg’s Den Bergtekne (The Mountain Thrall) tells of a young man who, after an erotic meeting with the Elf-king’s daughter, is unable to resume a normal life. The elegant, sliding changes of harmony in En Svane (A Swan) complement the myriad images in the text. In Peer Gynts Serenade the ‘hero’ sings for the Bedouin girl Anitra.

Influences of Wagner and Nielsen mark the Swedish composer Ture Rangström’s song cycle Ur Kung Eriks Visor (From King Erik’s Songs), matchless settings of poems about the gifted but drunken and melancholy King Erik XIV of Sweden.

Except for the Lange-Müller and Malling items here making their debut on disc, most of the songs on this CD have been recorded before, but mainly in mixed program, and not, in my opinion, as consistently well sung and beautifully played as they are on this Chandos release. Bo Skovhus is phenomenal, and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Michael Schønwandt is equally magnificent. This is a must-have CD.


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