The mature style that Bent Sorensen established at the end of the 1980s is centered around the concept of decay: the music is ostensibly Romantic, but microtonal inflections, glissandi and sloppy rhythms make it sound worn and faded, as if one is looking at an old photograph or a ragged painting. "From the moment we are born," Sorensen wrote, "there is only one way - a slowly sliding decay. Time eats away at us." Programmatic references to churchyards, funeral processions and wild landscapes fill his music, but far from being depressing and grim, Sorensen's "decay" is in fact poignant and curiously attractive with a proliferation of fine detail. This Dacapo disc features two works in this vein from the early 1990s. Leif Segerstam leads the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra and Choir, with soloists Rebecca Hirsch (violin), "Asa Baverstam" (soprano) and Martyn Hill (tenor).
The first piece, "Sterbende Garten" for violin and orchestra (1994) is one of the strongest concertos for the instrument in recent years. Sorensen was inspired by an abandoned garden he toured in the Danish countryside, where the once-clear outlines of the landscape were blurred by rampant weeds and dying flowers. The concerto is cast in three movements. The first, by far the longest at 14 minutes, has the violin maintaining a cantabile line through a variety of busy, fragile soundscapes. There is always a careful balance so that the violin is constantly audible against the orchestra. The second movement is a slow barcarola and thus introduces a bit of an aquatic element. We then pass, attacca subito, into the third movement "Stampida" which works as a rousing conclusion to the work, violin contending with timpani and congas.Read more ›
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