Holmboe: Preludes for Sinfonietta, Vol. 2: To the Calm Sea; To a Pine Tree,

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Holmboe
LABELS: Dacapo
WORKS: Preludes for Sinfonietta, Vol. 2: To the Calm Sea; To a Pine Tree,
PERFORMER: Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen/Giordano Bellincampi
CATALOGUE NO: 8.224124
Holmboe’s Preludes for Sinfonietta are all late works, but they sound as youthful as anything else in his output – nimble, quick-witted, quirky and full of apparently unstoppable energy. It’s easy to imagine Holmboe finishing one and immediately picking up a fresh wad of manuscript paper to begin another – the ideas tumble over one another, the endings rarely sound final. The differences emerge with repeated hearing. Not surprisingly, To the Pollution of Nature turns out to be a good deal more angry and sombre than the airy, light-filled To the Calm Sea. To the Seagulls and Cormorants avoids pictorialism – no woodwind bird-calls or watery ripplings – and yet, given the title, it’s wonderfully easy to allow the imagination to drift on its constantly changing musical currents. The Sonata for Trombone and Piano and Music With Horn (for violin, horn and piano) open up other worlds entirely – the former stern but not unyielding, the second gently convivial. Perhaps the performances of the Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen could have been more searching, but they balance outward movement and inner calm convincingly, and the recordings are clear without being studio-ish, and well-balanced. A warning though: the timings given in the track listings don’t always match the durations on the disc. Stephen Johnson

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