Danish Composer Anders Brodsgaard and "Galaxy" | Monday, December 27, 2010 gapplegatemusicreview.blogspot.com/2010/12/danish-composer-anders-brodsgaard-and.html
Modern Danish composers? DaCapo brings us a bird's-eye view of some of what goes on there, as you may have noticed from previous posts on this blog.
Today, another very interesting release, Galaxy (DaCapo 8.226551), focusing on the orchestral music of Anders Brodsgaard (b. 1955). First things first: Christopher Austin and the Odense Symphony Orchestra illuminate the two works covered with bold definition and verve. The sound is quite good as well.
The two works? "Galaxy" (composed between 1990-1999), and "Monk's Mixtures" (2009). The former matches a large orchestra with an expansive, continuous sonic matrix. It is in turn consonant, dissonant, relatively quiescent or boldly dynamic. The sound universe suggests an isomorphic relation to the nearly infinite yet complexly patterned logic of a galaxy in motion. It is a finely nuanced, deeply expressive work that never seems less than inspired. His use of the orchestra shows a complete mastery of the sound-producing resources available to him, though he mostly realizes his ever-shifting sound masses without recourse to the less conventional sound-producing techniques developed by composers like Xenakis and Penderecki in their breakthrough works. Yet the overall effect is singular.
"Monk's Mixtures" is no less interesting. The music moves along more briskly, more periodically, as the movement titles ("Moving," "Walking," "Flying") suggest.
In the end one gets a sense of Brodsgaard the composer; a musical mind that is as attuned to orchestral color as it is inventively original in a melodic-harmonic sense.
This is bracing music, a jump into a cold stream. It's a good thing to hear. It gives you an open window into Brodsgaard's universe of sound. Recommended.
Anders Brodsgaard: Orchestral Music Review by David Hurwitz Artistic Quality: 8, Sound Quality: 9 classicstoday.com/review/review-15796
There’s real talent here. Galaxy seems a bit too much in love with its concept (kind of like Wagner), and as a result goes on a bit longer than it has any right to, but it’s full of evocative sounds and contains some imaginative motivic material. The idea, as you already might have guessed, is to create a coherent musical structure out of the shape of a spiral galaxy, and Anders Brodsgaard does it by deploying a varied range of materials, including drones and both tonal and atonal harmony, in clusters of varying length. It takes a while to get going, and even longer to finish (42 minutes to be exact), but along the way there’s more than enough to capture the attention, and Brodsgaard’s handling of color and sonority is impressive.
It’s even more so in Monk’s Mixtures, based on the music and playing style of Thelonious Monk. This three-movement piece really does sustain its length, with each part (Moving, Walking (passacaglia), and Flying) living up to its billing. There are some moments where the music seems to demand a bit more in the way of a tune, but then Monk himself wasn’t exactly a melodist in the traditional sense. Excellent playing and vivid recorded sound make this a disc worth exploring for fans of contemporary music, particularly of the "soundscape” variety.
Thanks a lot, I've been looking for this disc for ages. The Galaxy is one hell of a ride!
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