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Mikkelborg, Koppel, Jersild & Holmboe


Palle Mikkelborg Everything matters
Herman D Koppel Duo for violin and guitar op.116
Jorgen Jersild 10 Impromtu
Vagn Holmboe Duo Concertato op.167

Kim Sjogren (violin) Lars Hannibal (guitar)

OURRECORDINGS 8226902 [TT:59 mins - remastered; earlier release on Danish EMI LP 7496791]

Lars Hannibal is highly regarded for his mastery of musical literature from the lute music of the 16th century to the contemporary scores composed especially for him. Violinist Kim Sjøgren became concert master of the Royal Danish Orchestra at 22; he is also active as a composer. As Duo Concertante they celebrated their 10-year anniversary concert at Wigmore Hall in London, having performed together in a wide variety of genres and performing situations.

This disc demonstrates firstly that violin/guitar makes an attractive combination. The duo's chosen late-20 C music dates from 1987/88 and mostly it is far from forward looking "cutting edge" (Berio composed his Sequenza XI for guitar in exactly the same years!).

Koppel & Jersild offer pieces that would go down well in recital, but don't stretch the guitarist unduly. The prolific Holmboe knows the guitar well and this is a pleasing little duo that would always be welcome. The most interesting work is the first, Palle Mikkelborg's sequence of linked little pieces, nearly half an hour long, with a spicing of electronics and recorded children's voices added (Mikkelborg may be better known to some readers as jazz trumpeter and composer/producer of a famous Miles Davis album AURA).

Everything Matters” is poetic music inspired by a little essay by a Danish dancer, Erik Bruhn, in which he recalls sitting up in a tree as a child, ignoring his family's calls from below "because I knew that I was the only one who knew that I was not there!" This "zen-buddhist way of thinking" inspired music of a timeless atmosphere "with its own language, never heard before or since" (Lars Hannibal) which needs a somewhat passive (zen?) mode of listening to enter its world. It became a successful Christopher Bruce ballet which was filmed by Danish Radio/TV in 1991, and soft-focus stage photos from it adorn Charlotte Bruun Peterson's delightful artwork. The whole presentation is alluring, and Lars Hannibal provides all the information you need.

Recommended for something different, and Journey should certainly find a place in all college guitar department libraries.

Peter Grahame Woolf

For a fuller appreciation, I am pleased to defer to Bob Briggs, who produced a remarkable CD which I treasure, of campanologist Llorenc Barber improvising through a long night in a City church - also in 1987, a year which figures repeatedly in this my review !

See Briggs' review of Journey at http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/Name/Palle-Mikkelborg/Composer/8127-1