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Classical - To be released August 14, 2020 | Dacapo

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Classical - To be released August 14, 2020 | Dacapo

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Danish harpsichordist and conductor Lars Ulrik Mortensen, who has been the musical director of the renowned baroque music ensemble Concerto Copenhagen since 1999, has studied Dietrich Buxtehude's relationship with Copenhagen for this new album. A legendary musician invariably associated with the formative years of the young Bach, Buxtehude spent his own youth in Denmark, first in Helsingborg, where he was probably born in 1637, and then in Helsingør, a radiant and luminous city where the young musician flourished in a most favourable environment. It was at the end of his classical studies that he perfected his skills in Copenhagen, where there was a flourishing musical and intellectual activity and where he received advice from the great musicians of the time. This album is dedicated to composers who gravitated to Buxtehude in the Danish capital, alternating vocal and instrumental pieces by Johann Balthasar Erben, Johann Valentin Meder, Matthias Weckmann, Kaspar Forster, Andreas Kirchhoff and Nicolaus Bruhns, who were the great masters of Northern Europe at the time. The dark and warm timbre of bass baritone Jakob Bloch Jespersen perfectly enhances the music that could be heard during services in the Baltic Sea region – at the time a real musical superpower. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Choral Music (Choirs) - Released July 10, 2020 | Dacapo

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Musica Ficta is a professional vocal ensemble of virtuosic soloists, founded in Copenhagen in 1996 by composer and conductor Bo Holten. Their impressive repertoire is wide-ranging and spans from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance period, specialising in vocal music by great Danish composers from the romantic era. Their latest album, Sange fra grænselandet (Songs from the borderland), is devoted to Jutland, a region that borders Northern Germany. For over a thousand years it has been a land of passage and transition, as well as a bone of contention between the Danes and Germans who border the region. Their story is told here through song, amid skirmishes and fratricidal wars. Today, Jutland is a peaceful place and has been enriched culturally by its dual German-Danish culture. Bilingualism is omnipresent and each language has its own press, schools and political parties. It was sung about in the past by Carl Nielsen, and in 1993 Jutland was the muse for a new work that commemorates the successful reunification of the peninsula that now belongs to both countries. Sønderjysk is a summer symphony for soloists, choir and orchestra written by composer Bo Holten, who showcases several extracts arranged for A Capella choir on this recording. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released July 10, 2020 | Dacapo

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One of Carl Nielsen’s most popular compositions, the idyllic work for flute Tågen letter ("The Mist Is Rising"), originates from the play Moderen ("The Mother"). But what The Mother actually is is not as well known, one of the reasons for this being that the entire score for the piece first appeared in print in 2007 and has never been recorded in its entirety. This recording places the music in its right context for the first time, thus providing us with a new picture of Carl Nielsen as a composer for the theatre. Some historical background is essential to an understanding of this. From the Middle Ages until 1864, the Kingdom of Denmark included the southern duchies of Slesvig (Schleswig) and Holsten (Holstein) with their mixed German and Danish populations. The situation was complicated by the fact that the role of duke was filled by the same regent who was king of Denmark. In the mid-1800s, Danish National Liberal forces attempted to incorporate Schleswig into the Kingdom of Denmark, whereas the pro-German people in the duchies wanted to sever Schleswig and Holstein completely from the union. The conflict led to the two Schleswig wars in 1848-50 and in 1864, in which the Danish army ultimately suffered a fatal defeat. Schleswig and Holstein were handed over to Prussia, and the Kingdom of Denmark thereby lost not only two historic and wealthy areas but also 40% of its population. Denmark was smaller than it ever had been and was forced to redefine itself. Its language now became crucial to the definition of the nation, and Denmark’s countryside and national treasures – as symbols – were studied in detail. After Germany’s defeat in the First World War, the situation changed, and in 1920 a referendum was held among the inhabitants of Schleswig and Holstein in order to decide where the border should be drawn. The decision was clear and in accordance with the demographic structure: the most northerly part, North Schleswig, in Denmark called Southern Jutland, became Danish after 56 years. South Schleswig and Holstein, with a predominantly German population, became German. The people had spoken and democratically chosen the border that endures to this day. Denmark’s reunification with Southern Jutland was one of the most important events in Denmark in the 20th century and was of course celebrated in every conceivable way. The Royal Theatre decided to put on a gala performance. The greatest talents were in charge of the play: the distinguished poet Helge Rode (1870-1937) wrote the text, and Carl Nielsen, who had established himself as Denmark’s leading composer, was to write the music. The leitmotif in The Mother is the final song, Som en rejselysten flåde ("There’s a Fleet of Floating Islands"), Rode’s brilliant poem about Denmark’s geography, countryside and language that, with its sweeping poetic style and Nielsen’s majestic melody, could be a brilliant national anthem for the new, reunited Denmark. The melody is even used in the prelude to Scene Seven and, in a paraphrased form, in the song Søndret folk er vokset sammen ("Grown Together, Sundered Nation"). Funnily enough, Carl Nielsen himself returned to the counter-argument about using familiar songs in the play. We hear, among other things, the Danish national anthem Der er et yndigt land, reproduced by Nielsen with its original harmonies. Nielsen supplemented with new melodies in a popular style, and some of them were so popular that they slipped into the Danish repertory of community songs, for example Som en rejselysten flåde ("There’s a Fleet of Floating Islands") and Min pige er så lys som rav ("Like Golden Amber Is My Girl") – the most sacred moment of the entire play. The premiere of the performance was postponed several times because Carl Nielsen was pressed for time, and parts of the music had to be orchestrated by the composer Emil Reesen, like the prelude to Scene Seven. We do not know whether it was lack of time that was the reason why Nielsen reused his tone poem Saga-drøm (Saga Dream) of 1908, but the piece serves as an excellent introduction to the fairy-tale atmosphere. © Jens Cornelius/Dacapo
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Classical - Released April 3, 2020 | Dacapo

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Classical - Released March 20, 2020 | Dacapo

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Sometimes, the reputation of a performer can be a powerful factor in unearthing a previously-unknown composer. This is the case with this monographic album dedicated to works by Danish composer Bent Sørensen (born 1958), written specially for three Nordic musicians: pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, clarinettist Martin Fröst and trumpeter Tine Thing Helseth. Bent Sørensen's deeply nostalgic music is listened to as one might look at a painting that has been aged by time, like those yellowed photos that one takes out from their cardboard box on a rainy day. It proceeds through reminiscence, with flushes of tonality and glissandos that blur the harmony, like a dream gradually disappearing from one's waking memory. With its five-movement structure, the Second Piano Concerto, La Mattina, written between 2007 and 2009, is based on the memory of an after-concert in a bar during which Leif Ove Andsnes had played a Choral by Bach transcribed by Busoni. Sørensen extends this magical moment throughout this score, which stretches towards the metaphysical from its classical bases, with instrumentation identical to Mozart's Concerto No. 17 . The result is unsettling and powerfully mesmerising. Serinidad, for clarinet and orchestra, dates from 2011. Throughout its composition, the writer was obsessed with the image of a clarinet hovering like a bird trying to escape from the orchestra and concert hall, as if to leave its nest. Here, melancholy joins a modern romanticism in which the voice of the soloist intervenes in a kind of sung murmur. The Trumpet Concerto (2012-2013) takes up the classical composition style of the works of Haydn and Hummel but with a modern sound. The music is born out of the rubbing of hands and sandpaper, creating a soundscape into which the trumpet enters, as one enters a forest with its mysteries and dark corners. Bent Sørensen's music, constantly oscillating between consciousness and unconsciousness, is a fascinating world; a perpetual source of dream and wonder. © François Hudry/Qobuz
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Classical - Released March 20, 2020 | Dacapo

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Classical - Released February 28, 2020 | Dacapo

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Classical - Released February 21, 2020 | Dacapo

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Classical - Released February 14, 2020 | Dacapo

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Classical - Released November 1, 2013 | Dacapo

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Originally released as separate hybrid SACDs between 2006 and 2013, Adam Fischer's recordings of the 45 symphonies of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart are reissued as standard CDs in this 12-disc box set from Dacapo. While audiophiles will want to collect the individual volumes for their exceptional clarity and depth, less particular listeners may be contented with the perfectly fine stereo reproduction of these discs. The main issue for all, however, is the style of Fischer's performances, in which he combines period performance practices and the modern instrumentation of the Danish National Chamber Orchestra, a compromise that is surprisingly effective and practical. Fischer's tempos are usually quick and his emphasis on energetic, even brusque, playing gives the symphonies a sharp edge, so there is little here that could be considered gemütlich. Rather, Fischer's approach has a certain dry, cerebral quality that encourages intellectual appreciation, and urges active exploration of the symphonies instead of listening for relaxation. © TiVo
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Classical - Released March 1, 2005 | Dacapo