WORKS: I Danmark er jeg født; Våren; Sommernatten
PERFORMER: Danish National Radio Choir/Stefan Parkman
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 9464
The versatile Danish Radio Choir under Stefan Parkman has proved one of Chandos’s most consistent assets. Here they are on home ground. This is an in many ways exquisite disc of the choir performing staple items of their country’s folk repertoire – often enough here, traditional melodies recast by leading composers. Such settings largely amount to what might be termed Danish Victoriana – fairly simple, stanzaic and foursquare, more vertical than contrapuntal, the word-setting more mellifluous than inventive, like a form of secular carol.
Such national nostalgia, naive and charming, tends towards the repetitive, perhaps, to the untutored outsider’s ear – though Henrik Rung’s ‘I Danmark er jeg født’ (‘In Denmark I was born’) has appealing contours (and an irresistibly fluted top line) few would not cherish. Miniatures such as Alfvén’s ‘Och jungfrun’ (‘and the maiden’), with its bell effects, and Otto Mortensen’s ‘Lørdag aften’ (Saturday night) ring the changes somewhat. Ironically, it is in an arrangement (with soprano solo) of Grieg’s well-known ‘Våren’ (‘Spring’) or Rautavaara’s handling of ‘Sommernatten’ (‘Summer Night’) that real variety and contract emerges. a pure, mellow, if slightly boxed-in sound, which on some equipment slightly slices the upper edge off the sopranos (nicely judged) top range. Roderic Dunnett