NORDGREN: String Quartet No. 3. Equivocations. Sonata
for Cello. String Quintet
KIRCHNER: Sinfonia ni Two Parts.Toccata for Strings,
Solo Wihds, and Percussion. Music for Orchestra. Orchestra
Piece (Music for Orchestr11).
CHEN YI: Spring in Dresden for Violin and Orchestra. Suite for
Cello and Chamber Winds, Fiddle Suie for Huqin and String Orchestra.
Xian Shi for Viola and Orhestra.
Pehr Henrik Norgard (1944 - 2008), a major figure on Finland's music scene, has written more than 40 works for chamber ensembles, as well as an opera, 9 symphonies, orchestral works and music for solo instruments. This site has praised previous SACD issues of his Symphonies 1 and 8 (REVIEW), Symphonies 3 and 7 (REVIEW), the Accordion Concerto (REVIEW), and the large-scale choral work Divine Circus (REVIEW). On this new SACD we have four major chamber works, all receiving their premiere recordings. First is Quartet No 3 (he wrote eleven), a one-movement work, written in 1976. This is followed by Equivocations, Op. 35 composed in 1981. This featured the kantele, a Finnish folk instrument rather like a zither, along with violin, viola and cello. This apparently is the first time this unusual instrument has been used formally in a classical work. The Cello Sonata, written in 1992, has four sections: Evocation, Defiance, Interlude: Oreiller, and Patch. The disk ends with String Quintet, Op. 110, commissioned for the Kimito Island Music Festival, composed in 2000. The performances are superb, and the recording captures the varied, and sometimes unique, string sounds. A notable issue!
Leon Kirchner (1919 - 2009) was totally American, a major figure for
a half century. He was a respected teacher and won a number of awards
for his music .A prolific composer, Kirchner wrote primarily chamber
has been recorded. His orchestral works will be new to most listeners,
although they have been championed by major conductors. The New York
Philharmonic premiered Sinfonia in Two Parts in 1952 (Dimitri
Mitropoulos), Toccata premiered 1956 with Enrique Jordá and
the San Francisco Symphony,
Music for Orchestra premiered 1969 with the composer leading
the New York Philharmonic, Orchestra Piece was premiered 1990
with the composer leading the New England Conservatory Orchestra, and
James Levine conducted
the Boston Symphony in the premiere of The Forbidden in 2008.
Now we have all of these works, most of which doubtless are first recordings,
in sterling performances
by the superb Boston Modern Orchestra Project under its dynamic conductor,
Gil Rose. In spite of this, it seems Kirchner's orchestral music
yet to develop a following. I've listened to his recoding three times,
and three is nothing here that I would care to experience again. I'm
sure Rose and
his ensemble do what can be done, but limited interest here. Superb audio,
as usual wi BMOP.
R.E.B. (October 2018)