all reviews
DVD: MARIN (Animated Fantasy), Axel (Portrait)
SACD: Selected Highlights
Marin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
Borup – Jørgensens fantasi om havet er et hovedværk i dansk musik
Valdemar Lønsted, Newspaper Information, Denmark
09 January 2019
Information (DK)
Borup – Jørgensens fantasi om havet er et hovedværk i dansk musik
Axel Borup-Jørgensen kunne have sagt med Mahlers ord: Min tid vil komme. For det er sket inden for de sidste år, og samme profeti kunne også gælde den engang så foragtede Rued Langgaard. To markante udgivelser beviser til fulde, hvor store komponister de var.
Marin er titlen på en dobbeltudgivelse, der rummer en dvd og en cd med værker af Axel Borup-Jørgensen, og tilmed får man et smukt filmportræt af ham. Dens helt særlige attraktion er dvd´ens animerede undervandsfantasi som et visuelt parallelspor til orkesterfantasien Marin, som man kunne kalde et modstykke til Claude Debussys tre skitser til havet, La Mer. Animationen af en verden på havets bund er et eventyrligt visuelt kunststykke, som så at siger suger lytteren ind i Marin og faktisk hjælper til at følge med den uhyre komplekse strøm af klange og rytmer.
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012) var for så vidt en sjælden fugl i det danske komponistreservat, en del år ældre end triumviratet Nørholm, Nørgård og Gudmundsen-Holmgreen. Han voksede op i Sverige i tæt kontakt med svensk natur og kultur, han begyndte at studerer på konservatoriet i København i 1946, gik stille med dørene og blev først for alvor opdaget af offentligheden, da han vandt DR´s komponistkonkurrence i1960. Førsteprisen førte til en bestilling af et nyt stort værk til radiosymfonikerne med sig, det blev Marin, som fik sin uropførelse i 1970 underledelse af Herbert Blomstedt. Gudmundsen-Holmgreen kaldte det siden for et enestående mesterværk i den danske orkesterlitteratur.
Stilhed og usynlige strømme
Borup-Jørgensen fik altså sit livs chance for at komponerer for det fuldt udbyggede symfoniorkester, og han lod den ikke passere. Det var bevidst, at han valgte et program til musikken, for han ønskede at komme i kontakt med publikum, og med et digt om havet-sådan kan man godt forestille sig, han tænkte om sin plan-skabte han sig et stort og udfordrende spillerum.
Han skitserede en udvikling ikke helt ulig Debussy: opvågnen før daggry, høj sø, glitren i sollyset, havblik, brænding, storm. Og for Borup-Jørgensen var det vigtigt, at ingen rytmiske mønstre eller klangkombinationer så vidt muligt skulle gentage sig, sådan som havets rytmer og farver heller ikke gør det. Intet måtte træde for tydeligt frem, der skulle være en helhed af klang, ingen egentlige temaer, men et perpetuum mobile uden begyndelse og slutning, hvor så at sige hvert instrument både spiller selvstændigt og lader sig opsluge af lyden fra de andre.
Det er så påfaldende, at animationen af Marin foregår på havets bund, hvor stilhed og usynlige strømme hersker i en verden af lyse pastelagtige farver. Det kunne ligne havfolkets habitat som hos H. C. Andersen, der er bjerglandskaber, og en by med sælsomme huse, forladte rum og korridorer, og alt går antydningsvist for sig med væsener, der bevæger sig elegant og målbevidst gennem elementet.
Med Borup-Jørgensens suggestivt omsluttende musik aner man åbenbaringen af et foruroligende mysterium, med de levende billeder fastholdes koncentrationen om musikkens nu. Det er en forunderlig dobbelthed.
Thomas Søndergård og radiosymfonikerne folder det ødsle partitur ud med en imponerende indforståethed, men måske skal den største ros gå til produceren Preben Iwan, som har indfanget de mange instrumentalstemmer i en mesterlig detaljeringsgrad. Bliv derefter klogere på den store komponist i filmportrættet, hvor han selv kommer til orde og bliver beskrevet af det før omtalte komponisttriumvirat, datteren Elisabet Selin, Michala Petri og mange andre. I 2018 modtog Marin-udgivelsen den tyske Grammy for bedste musikproduktion på dvd/blue-ray, og den er nomineret til en af DR´s P2- priser i 2019. 
Valdemar Lønsted, Newspaper Information, Denmark

DVD: MARIN (Animated Fantasy), Axel (Portrait)
SACD: Selected Highlights
Marin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
It is something of a milestone among Scandinavian New Music offerings in recent years.
Grego Applegate Edwards, Classical-Modern Music Review (USA)
30 April 2018
I have gone into the music of Danish composer Axel Borup-Jorgensen (1924-2012) at some length on these pages. (See articles from February 23, 2017, February 3, 2014 and September 7, 2016.) However I have not previously discussed his orchestral works. This morning I get the opportunity for that with a deluxe DVD-SACD set of Marin (Our Recordings 2.110426). The DVD contains two films that utilize Borup-Jorgensen's music, "Marin, An Animated Fantasy," and "Axel, A Portrait Film." The SACD contains the full nearly 20-minute performance of the orchestra work "Marin" plus a number of chamber works from the film of the same name.
I have no way of commenting on the DVD because every one of my players or disk drives has failed in the last several years.
On the SACD I have happily spent a good deal of time. Its nearly 80 minute length allows a good number of relevant compositions from the film(s) to be explored. The orchestral opus "Marin" gets a fully fleshed, vibrantly sonic reading from Thomas Sondergard conducting the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Written at various stages between 1963-1970, it has a High Modernist soundscaped sonority and a good deal of dimensional depth. I would not hesitate to number this as among Borup-Jorgensen's most profound and effective works.
Another essential on the disc is his "Coast of Sirens, Op. 100" (1983-85) for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, guitar, piano, percussion and multivoice tape. The female voices ethereally evoke the seductive clarion call while the chamber ensemble wraps itself in and around the vocals with luminous elements of very modern atmospheric articulations.
The two works form a crucial set of bookends for five more sparsely configured works. There are two pieces for solo recorders, very characteristic of Borup-Jorgensen's angular contemporary treatment of the instrument. The 1955-56 "Music for Percussion + Viola" has a heightened sonic sense, a rhythmic drive and a pronounced trajectory more-or-less characteristic of the best New Music of that period. The Percurama Percussion Ensemble and Tim Frederiksen on viola contrast and commune together in ways that make for worthy listening. The 1989 "Fur Cembalo und Orgel" dramatically explores sound colors and wave-like swells while one of the 1959 "Winter Pieces" for piano gives us a gentle and chilly weathered rumination.

In all the SACD provides the modernist aficionado with the most freewheeling and variously instrumented introduction of Borup-Jorgensen's music I have yet to hear. No doubt the DVD film sequence adds to our appreciation as well. For that I do recommend you check out this offering. It is something of a milestone among Scandinavian New Music offerings in recent years. Grego Applegate Edwards, April 30 2018
Grego Applegate Edwards, Classical-Modern Music Review (USA)

DVD: MARIN (Animated Fantasy), Axel (Portrait)
SACD: Selected Highlights
Marin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
Danish composer Borup-Jørgensen was a genuine talent, a likeable maverick with an acute ear”
Graham Rickson, theartsdisk.com
24 March 2018
“Danish composer Borup-Jørgensen was a genuine talent, a likeable maverick with an acute ear”
Axel Borup-Jørgensen: Marin Danish National Symphony Orchestra/Thomas Sôndergård (OUR Recordings)
The physical effort involved in composing Marin was a huge strain on the Danish composer Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012). This ear-stretching musical seascape was made possible by its creator winning a prize in the mid-1960s, the reward including a commission for a large orchestral piece to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Danish National Symphony Orchestra in 1970. Borup-Jørgensen delivered, in spades: a shaggy monsterpiece with the orchestral strings divided into 55 parts, using something referred to, mysteriously, as "optical notation". Making a fair copy took the composer over 1000 hours, the process entertainingly described by his daughter in the booklet. A young Herbert Blomstedt conducted the premiere, following a score with pages so enormous that an ingenious means of turning them soundlessly had to be devised. You couldn't make it up. Still, this handsomely recorded new performance of Marin with the same orchestra under Thomas Søndergård is a triumph. It sounds like nothing else you'll have heard, 19 minutes of deep rumblings, dissonant note clusters and pregnant silences. Importantly, it does really suggest a vast, swelling ocean. We’re not a million miles away from the stormier bits of Debussy’s La Mer or Sibelius's Oceanides. The recording comes with an accompanying DVD including Morten Bartholdy’s CGI animated realisation of Marin, an entertainingly crazed vision of an undersea world, its denizens based on the composer's own drawings. I listened to the work before watching the film and was anticipating something darker and murkier: the crystalline brightness of the artwork came as a surprise. Still good to have though, as is the bonus documentary about Borup-Jørgensen. Which suggests that he was a genuine talent, a likeable maverick with an acute ear, able to analyse a work by Webern using graphics rather than words. It's touching to see him recalled so fondly by fellow musicians.
Marin’s vastness seems to have been a blip, Borup-Jørgensen generally preferring to write on a smaller scale. The couplings are fascinating: 1989’s Für Cembalo und Orgel (with harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani) is bewilderingly brilliant, as are two pieces for solo recorder. The second of them, Pergolato, was the composer’s last work, an elegant, melodic farewell. The disc closes with Coast of Sirens, soprano Bodil Gümes’ multitracked vocals heard against a shimmering chamber backdrop. The whole package is handsomely designed and well-annotated: a treat, in other words. What's stopping you?
Graham Rickson, theartsdisk.com

DVD: MARIN (Animated Fantasy), Axel (Portrait)
SACD: Selected Highlights
Marin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
A challenging issue, for sure; a major addition to the catalog of music by this composer
Robert Benson, Classical CD Review.com
18 Januaray 2018

Danish-born composer Axel Borup-Jorgensen (1924-2012) was a prolific composer on the Nordic musical scene. He was respected during his time, and recognized as a leader in the world of new music. He wrote for orchestra, chamber ensembles and solo instruments, and his scores are complex. He had his own sound world, and he had a passionate almost mystical regard for nature. Much of his music is subdued, almost silent. The SACD in this set contains Marin, Op.60, a 19 minute work considered to be his masterpiece. This is played by the Danish National Symphony directed by Thomas Sondegard. Then we hear the 13=minute Music for Percussion and Viola (Tim Fredenksen/Percurama Percussion Ensemble), Für Cembalo and Organ, Op. 133 (Mahan Esfahani/ Jens,. E. Christiansen), Nachtstück, Op. 118. (Elisabet Selin, recorder), Winter Pieces, Op. 30b (Erik K Kaltoft, piano), Pergolato, Op. 183 *(Michala Petri, recorder), and Coast of Sirens, Op. 100 for flute, clarinet, violin, guitar, cello, piano, percussion and "multi voice tape."with the Arhus Sinfonietta conducted by Soren Kinch Hansen. I imagine most listeners (including myself) will find little of interest in this music. The DVD features a fantasy animation of Marin created by Lückow Film and an international team of animators directed by Morten Bartholdy.The film represents symbols of the forces in the human subconscious, without a narrative, to be interpreted by the viewer. AXEL is a documentary about the composer's life and music and includes interviews and performances by some of the artists heard on the CD. A challenging issue, for sure; a major addition to the catalog of music by this composer.'

Robert Benson, Classical CD Review.com

Michala Petri, recorder
Jean Thorel, conductor
A Pacifying Weapon [LP]
Sean Hickey
Hickey´s capitalizes on the icy edge of his percussion-heavy wind band by channeling Shostakovich-like brutality against which the recorder is the picture of whimsical innocence.
Andrew Mellor, Gramophone, UK
04 February 2018
LP releases
Andrew Mellor on a handful of vinyl issues from Northern Europe specially conceived for the medium
Sean Hickey´s recorder concerto A Pacifying Weapon stands in directly timbral contrast to pretty much everything discussed. But its inclusion on the first LP release from its label reminds us that the presence achieved by analogue sound is just as transformative for hard-edged shouts and scrapes as it is for hand-holding hums and whispers. As the dichotomy of its title suggest, this is a piece in which swards are beat into ploughshares but with accomplished sleight of hands.
Hickey´s capitalizes on the icy edge of his percussion-heavy wind band by channeling Shostakovich-like brutality against which the recorder is the picture of whimsical innocence. But it is the Fife and Drums of battle that end up consoling Michala Petri´s adroit flutters, making way for her final dialogue with an exotic but subtly-deployed battery of percussion. It is filigree, agile music suited to low-fi analogue sound? This is the only record of the six that comes with a download card, Hicheys piece won´t outstay its welcome should you wish to spend some time arguing the toss. 
Andrew Mellor, Gramophone, UK

DVD: MARIN (Animated Fantasy), Axel (Portrait)
SACD: Selected Highlights
Marin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
hinaus viel Hörenwertes dieses hochinteressanten Komponisten zu entdecken gibt
Juan Martin Kock, Neue Musikzeitung, Seite 17
04 February 2018
Neue Musikzeitung (Germany)
Borup-Jørgensen: Marin, OUR Recordings (DVD und SACD)
Nach dem orchestralen Hauptwerk von Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012) benannt, enthält diese mit ausführlichem Booklet schön ausgestattete Box zweierlei: Eine SACD mit einer repräsentativen Werkauswahl sowie eine DVD mit einem animierten Musikfilm zu “Marin” und einem vierzigminutigen Portrait des dänischen Komponisten. Letzteres ist einigermassen information, aber leider is Borup-Jørgensen nicht im Bewegtbild zu zehen. Der Musikfilm zu ”Marin” begeht glüchlicherweise nicht den Fehler, den Werktitel allzu ernst zu nehmen, denn dieses ”Seestück” ist keine naturalistische Meeresbetrachtung, sondern eine hochdifferenzierte Orchesterklangsstudie. Stattdessem finden wir uns in einer bizarren, von schwebenden Pappmaaché-menschen bevölkerten Vulkanlandschaft wieder, zu von Zeichnungen des komponisten inspiriert ist. Das wirkt nicht unbedingt zwingend, ist aber durchaus suggestiv. Wer das faszinierende Werk nur hören will, kann zu dem Danish National Symphony Orchestra unter Thomas Søndergård brilliant gespielen und in überragender Klangtechnik aufgenommen SACD greifen, auf der es darüber hinaus viel Hörenwertes dieses hochinteressanten Komponisten zu entdecken gibt. 
Juan Martin Kock, Neue Musikzeitung, Seite 17

DVD: MARIN (Animated Fantasy), Axel (Portrait)
SACD: Selected Highlights
Marin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
I’m sure Axel would be pleased to be placed as he is now among the masters of Danish composers.
Perkustooth, Newmusicbuff.wordpress.com
29 January 2018
I have made no secret of my passion for the music which has been coming out of the Scandinavian portion of our planet.  My knowledge of these musical traditions is mostly limited to the twentieth century up to the present but what a horn of plenty there is to be had.  There are so many composers that it is forgivable if one of them fails to get worldwide attention and acclaim during their lifetime.  Or is it?
Well if sins of omission that have been committed all can now be forgiven and the memory of Axel Borup-Jørgenson (1924-2012) is likely guaranteed to remain solidly in the history of music of the twentieth century.  The Danes take their music very seriously it seems (check out the You Tube Channel for the Danish National Symphony Orchestra if you don’t believe me) and producer Lars Hannibal and his crew have labored tirelessly to bring this formerly obscure master most deservingly to light in this DVD/CD combo pack featuring some of his finest works.
This truly major release contains a DVD with a gorgeous animated feature synced to the late composer’s swan song big orchestral piece, Marin op. 60 (1963-70) a really beautifully produced documentary (“Axel”) on the composer featuring some of his fellow composers including, Finn Savery, Pelle Gudmunsen-Holmgreen, Bent Sørensen, Sunleif Rasmussen, Per Nørgard, Gert Mortensen, Ib Nørholm, Michala Petri, and producer Lars Hannibal along with family and other musicians and producers.
The animated feature looks like one of the finer entries one might find on Vimeo.  The animation was done by Lùckow Film and works well with the music.  The biographical feature does a spectacular job of placing the composer in context with his Nordic contemporaries and with contemporary music in general.  The people interviewed give about as definitive a description of the man’s work as can be done in a film biography and the intervening or connecting scenes bespeak a high level concept of cinematography that makes this film both compelling and a delight for the eyes as well as the mind.  The concept of the composer’s use of silence as a compositional tool seems to be reflected in these transitional scenes.
The CD consists of seven carefully selected pieces on seven tracks.  The disc opens with the big orchestra piece which was heard behind the animation on the DVD, Marin Op. 60 (1963-70) followed by Music for Percussion and Viola Op. 18 (1955-56), For Cembalo and Orgel Op. 133 (1989), Nachtstuck Op. 181 (1987) (played here by the composer’s daughter, Elisabeth Selin), Winter Pieces Op. 30b (1959) for piano, Pergolato Op. 182 (2011) for treble recorder, and Coast of Sirens Op. 100 (1980-85) for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, guitar, piano, percussion, and multivoice tape.  This is truly a balanced portrait with examples of orchestral, solo instrument, keyboard, chamber and electroacoustic works from 1959-2011, a more than fair sampling of the composer’s output both by genre and by time.
The music seems to move between post-romantic tonality and expressionistic experiments such as one hears in the music of Gyorgy Ligeti.  The music is evocative and very listenable especially if one avails one’s self of the introductory film.  It certainly seemed to tune this reviewer’s ears properly.  It is helped as well by some very fine recordings that capture the subtlety of the composer’s work.
Lars Hannibal is clearly the guiding hand in this project but his genius (he is a fine guitarist as well as a producer) is his ability to engage all these fine musicians, artists, producers, and family in what is one of the most loving portraits this writer has ever seen.  Now that is the way to blast someone out of obscurity forever.
And this is but one entry in a larger project to record the composer’s complete output.  Two previous releases were reviewed on this blog and, presumably there are more to come.  But in the meantime there is much to savor here and one hopes that this will introduce this music into the general repertoire.  I’m sure Axel would be pleased to be placed as he is now among the masters of Danish composers.
Perkustooth, Newmusicbuff.wordpress.com

DVD: MARIN (Animated Fantasy), Axel (Portrait)
SACD: Selected Highlights
Marin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
Recording, notes and presentation are first rate.
Gerald Fenech, Gzira, Malta
17 January 2018
DVD Spotlight on www.dailyclassicalmusic.com
Hard to Chew
Music by Axel Borup-Jørgensen - heard by GERALD FENECH
'This is music that needs to be listened to several times before one can start to comprehend the composer's inner thoughts ...'
                             Marin - Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012). © 2017 OUR Recordings
Born on 22 November 1924, Axel Borup-Jørgensen is considered one of Denmark's most important twentieth century composers. Reared in Sweden since the age of two and a half, the young Axel inherited his father's passion for invention, and from early boyhood he was able to play several instruments. The complete shift towards classical music came in 1942 when his piano teacher introduced him to the slow movement of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Indeed, the composer admits that the sensation he felt was that of a religious conversion.
Borup-Jørgensen also nurtured a great love of nature, particularly the Swedish landscape, and this was a constant source of inspiration in his musical career. In 1946 he returned to Denmark, where, with the help of several teachers he was introduced to various forms of music, something that spurred him to abandon piano playing and make composition his main activity.
After his divorce in 1958 the composer was able to devote more time to writing music, and in 1959 and 1962 he visited Darmstadt, the centre of European modern music, to delve deeper into the atonal world that was expanding all the time. When he returned from his second visit he had found his own personal style which he kept developing up to the very end of his life. After nearly fifty years of successes and many accolades, Borup-Jørgensen died on 15 October 2012 aged eighty-eight.
This double-disc set (DVD and SACD) is a fine specimen of the composer's style and covers a wide spectrum of his musical ingenuity, particularly in the way he paired different instruments with today's electronic sounds. I must be frank and admit that I found this programme rather hard to chew, particularly the 1987 Nachtstück for tenor recorder and the 1959 Winter Pieces for piano. This is music that needs to be listened to several times before one can start to comprehend the composer's inner thoughts, so prospective buyers, post-modern aficionados included, should be prepared to practice patience before one starts to appreciate what this sound world has to offer.
Maybe starting with the DVD of Marin — An Animated Fantasy will help immeasurably towards one's acceptance of the significance of this composer.
Recording, notes and presentation are first rate.
Gerald Fenech, Gzira, Malta

DVD: MARIN (Animated Fantasy), Axel (Portrait)
SACD: Selected Highlights
Marin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
10/10/10 Eine musikalische und interpretatorische Meisterleistung
Heintz Braun, Klassik Heute, Germany
02 January 2018
Marin ist eine luxuriöse, umfangreiche Hommage an Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012), einen der wichtigsten dänischen Komponisten des Zwanzigsten Jahrhunderts.Nach jahrelanger intensiver Vorarbeit hat das dänische Label Our Recordings einen repräsentativen Querschnitt durch das Schaffen des Komponisten veröffentlicht, darunter auch eine Neueinspielung von Marin, dem sensationellen orchestralen Hauptwerk Borup-Jørgensens. Our Recordings hat weder Kosten noch Mühen gescheut, eine Aufnahme im Superlativ vorzulegen, sowohl was die musikalische Umsetzung dieses hochkomplexen, fast zwanzigminütigen Werkes mit dem Dänischen Nationalen Symphonieorchester unter Thomas Søndergård als auch dessen aufnahmetechnisch schlichtweg phänomenale Realisierung durch Preben Iwan im hochauflösenden DXD-Format (352,8 kHz/32 bit) anbelangt. Selten zuvor hat man Musik in einer solchen brillanten Klarheit und Klangtiefe gehört.
Marin erklang zum ersten Mal im Jahr 1970 mit dem gleichen Orchester unter Leitung von Herbert Blomstedt. Der Titel des Werkes legt nahe, was die Inspiration des Komponisten gewesen ist: das Meer mit all seinen Farben und seiner unablässigen Bewegung, seiner Tiefe und dem auch im übertragenen Sinne Schäumen klanglicher Verästelungen. Wie Elisabet Selin, die Tochter des Komponisten, im Beiheft berichtet, gestaltete sich das schier physische Schreiben dieses Werkes in über 1000 Stunden als wahre Herkules-Aufgabe – in der feinsäuberlichen, fast kalligraphischen Handschrift des Komponisten auf riesigen Partiturseiten im Format von 130x30 cm!
Bis auf Coast of Sirenes op. 100, das vom ebenfalls dänischen Klassik-Label Dacapo übernommen wurde, sind alle Einspielungen der vorliegenden Zusammenstellung Originalaufnahmen von Our Recordings, die bereits zuvor auf verschiedenen Veröffentlichungen des Labels erschienen sind. Es fällt schwer, ein Werk aus dieser überaus vielfältigen und gelungenen Kompilation hervorzuheben. Musik und Interpretation bewegen sich auf allerhöchstem Niveau. Neben Marin beeindruckten mich am meisten die großartige, frühe Music for percussion and viola op. 18, das dunkel gefärbte, klanglich höchst diffizile Nachtstück op. 118 für Tenorblockflöte solo (hier in der phänomenalen Aufnahme mit der Widmungsträgerin Elisabet Selin sowie Pergolato op. 183, das tief empfundene letzte vollendete Werk des Komponisten in der Einspielung mit der dänischen Blockflötistin Michala Petri.
Als willkommenes „Bonus-Material“ wird die SACD durch eine DVD ergänzt, auf der Marin als Grundlage eines großartigen surrealistischen Animationsfilms dient, der von Lückow Film und einem internationalen Team von Mitarbeitern unter der Regie von Morten Bartholdy verwirklicht wurde. Besonders interessant das ebenso enthaltene, mit englischen Untertiteln versehene Filmportrait Axel, in dem zahlreiche Freunde, Kollegen, Weggefährten und natürlich auch die Tochter des Komponisten zu Worte kommen.
Nicht allein also aufgrund der Neueinspielung von Marin ist dieses Set zu empfehlen. Allen (auch zukünftigen) Freunden der Musik des großen Dänen sei diese audiovisuelle Hommage ans Herz gelegt. Eine musikalische und interpretatorische Meisterleistung!
Heintz Braun, Klassik Heute, Germany

DVD: MARIN (Animated Fantasy), Axel (Portrait)
SACD: Selected Highlights
Marin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
. It conjures a curious, magical underwater world where semi-organic, abstract shapes are formed and coalesce as if prompted by the unfurling score itself.
Andrew Mellor, Gramophone
27 December 2017
Marin was both a beginning and an ending for the Danish composer Axel Borup-Jørgensen. Who put so much of himself into the piece that he never wrote for orchestra on the same scale again. It was commissioned by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation in 1965 to celebrate 40 years of its symphony orchestra; the corporation and it’s the conductor Herbert Blomstedt knew the young composer from a competition earlier that year.
In Marin, Borup-Jørgensen delivered an engrossing and monolithic vision of the see in various phases. As a listening experience it can be compared to pre-Grand Macabre Ligeti but the language occupies its own territory. The piece heaves itself up from the depths and, nearly 20 minutes, disintegrates at height. It is a true tapestry in which no instrument takes a predominant role, at one point, the violins alone divide into 55 parts.
This production is a curious one in some respect, but its triumph is that it treats Marin with the same everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach that its creator did (it took Borup-Jørgensen seven years to write, he rented a separate house in which he spend 1.000 hours completing the fair copy). Thomas Søndergård presides over an intense and clear reading of the score, recorded in DXD format, but that´s just for starters. On a separate DVD – complete with a subtle and illuminating documentary study of the composer with input from a raft of great names in Danish music – we see a newly commissioned animated film by Morten Bartholdy. It conjures a curious, magical underwater world where semi-organic, abstract shapes are formed and coalesce as if prompted by the unfurling score itself.
Watching the film at the premiere in May, in the comfort of a Copenhagen cinema with Marin rumbling in full surround-sound, I was utterly seduced. Watching on a small screen inevitably has less impact, but still the synergy of music and image intrigues, despite the aesthetic specificity and oddity of the latter component (that´s probably the point). Filling the SACD are works by the same composer that features on previous OUR Recordings issues, and the level of performers is high: Mahan Esfahani, Michala Petri, Tim Frederiksen and many more feature, in addition to the composer´s daughter Elisabet Selin, who gives a compelling performance of Nachstück. The English-language booklet could have used a professional proofread. But just like the essay “On Hearing Marin in 2017: Reflections from a Young Person” by Agnete Hannibal Petri – Lars Hannibal and Michala Petri`s daughter – it´s the eccentricity and comprehensiveness of this product that make it both affecting and worthwhile: 
Andrew Mellor, Gramophone

Michala Petri, recorder
Lars Hannibal, guitar
Garden Party
10/10/10" Einem absoluten Vergnügen"
Markus Zahnhausen, Klassik Heute, Germany
23 December 2017

Was lange währt, darf auch gebührend gefeiert werden: Das weltbekannte dänische Künstler-Duo Michala Petri (Blockflöte) und Lars Hannibal (Gitarre) spielte sein erstes Konzert im Jahr 1992 in Südspanien. Seither haben die beiden sympathischen Musiker über 1.500 Konzerte in den bedeutendsten Konzertsälen rund um den Erdball gegeben und waren auf den wichtigsten Musikfestivals zu Gast. Bekannte zeitgenössische Komponisten haben eigens für das Duo geschrieben, dessen nunmehr ein Viertljahrhundert währendes Schaffen auf zahlreichen CDs dokumentiert ist.

Der Titel des Jubiläumsalbums Garden-Party legt die Vorstellung einer ebensolchen nahe, führt aber ein wenig in die Irre, denn er ist dem gleichnamigen, 1992 entstandenen Stück des dänischen Komponisten Asger Lund Christiansen (1927-1998) entlehnt, das in einer Ersteinspielung auf diesem Album erscheint.

An dieser Stelle möchte ich eine persönliche Erinnerung an dieses bemerkenswerte Ensemble einflechten. Es wird Anfang der 2000-er Jahre gewesen sein, als ich das Vergnügen hatte, die beiden Musiker zum ersten Mal „live“ in einem Konzert in der fabelhaften Aura und Akustik des Münchner Prinzregententheaters hören zu dürfen. Neben der außerordentlichen Virtuosität und Bühnenpräsenz sind mir bis heute die gelungenen Bearbeitungen einiger Lyrischer Stücke Edvard Griegs in Erinnerung geblieben, die so überzeugend klangen, als ob sie genau für diese Besetzung geschrieben worden wären.

Zusammen mit den Humoristischen Bagatellen ihres großen dänischen Landsmannes Carl Nielsen bildet eine Auswahl eben jener Lyrischen Stücke sozusagen den Eckpfeiler des Programms – zauberhafte musikalische Petitessen in fabelhaften Arrangements, mit perfekter Leichtigkeit und Klangsinn gespielt.

Dazwischen, gleichsam als Intermezzi, zwei herrliche, ein wenig an Eric Satie erinnernde Kompositionen Lars Hannibals, die ebenso auf diesem Album zum ersten Mal eingespielt wurden: Dreams und Sunset Dance entführen den Hörer in eine ruhige, zeitlose Traumwelt und fügen sich ideal in das Gesamtkonzept der CD ein.

Dramaturgisch geschickt sind die beiden umfangreichsten Kompositionen des Programms in der Mitte platziert: die in Lars Hannibals Bearbeitung überraschend „vollwertig“ klingende Fassung von Edouard Lalos ursprünglich 1878 für den legendären Geiger Sarasate geschriebener Fantasie norvégienne sowie die bereits eingangs erwähnte Garden Party Lund Christiansens, eine originelle Suite, die durchaus bildhaft, jedoch nie plakativ die Charaktere von sechs verschiedenen (Garten)vögeln wie Amsel, Buchfink, Dompfaff, Bachstelze u.a. darstellt. Die Titelgebung des Werkes und seiner Sätze wirkt auf mich wie ein bescheidenes Understatement, handelt es sich doch spieltechnisch wie musikalisch um äußerst anspruchsvolle Miniaturen, die sich keineswegs auf die Imitation von Vogelgezwitscher reduzieren lassen.

Michala Petri ist bei alldem ganz in ihrem Element. Unter Einsatz einer breiten Palette verschieden timbrierter Blockflöten glänzt sie durch ihre musikalische Natürlichkeit. Lars Hannibal fungiert nicht nur als Begleiter, sondern als absolut ebenbürtiger musikalischer Partner.

Der herrliche Klang der Aufnahme und ein umfangreiches mehrsprachiges Beiheft lassen die CD zu einem absoluten Vergnügen werden. Ohne Zweifel ein wahrhaft würdiges Fest zum 25-jährigen bestehen dieses außergewöhnlichen Künstler-Duos.

Markus Zahnhausen, Klassik Heute, Germany

DVD: MARIN (Animated Fantasy), Axel (Portrait)
SACD: Selected Highlights
Marin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
The music (unquestionably in avant-garde idiom) is written for a very disparate collection of instruments, which the composer utilises to the full.
Barry Forshaw, CD Choice
10 December 2017
CD Choice (UK)
BORUP-JORENSEN: MARIN, Soloists, DNSO, Thomas Sondergard/ OUR Recordings, 21104 26   This curious package (containing both a DVD and a Super Audio CD) contains both an animated film and a portrait of the composer Axel Borup-Jorgensen. The music (unquestionably in avant-garde idiom) is written for a very disparate collection of instruments, which the composer utilises to the full. Not for every taste, but those of adventurous mien might find this a worthwhile investment.
Barry Forshaw, CD Choice

DVD: MARIN (Animated Fantasy), Axel (Portrait)
SACD: Selected Highlights
Marin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
. The fantasy is quite beautiful, and (fortunately) about as far from Walt Disney and Pixar as one could imagine!
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare
10 December 2017
 
BORUP-JØRGENSEN Marin ● Thomas Søndergård, cond; Danish Natl SO ● OUR 2.110426 (SACD 78:29 + DVD)
k music for percussion + viola. Für Cembalo und Orgel. Nachstück. winter pieces. Pergolato. Coast of Sirens. DVD: Axel – A Portrait Film
The purpose of this release appears to be two-fold: to introduce new listeners to the music of Danish composer Axel Borup-Jørgensen, who died in 2012, and to bring us a spectacular new recording of Marin, one of his few works for orchestra. Promoting this composer has been an ongoing effort for recorder virtuosa Michala Petri (his virtual “second daughter”), Lars Hannibal, and their record label, OUR Recordings: in 2016 (Fanfare 39:3), I reviewed an OUR Recordings tribute to this composer titled Nordic Sound, and it included another of his major works (Sommasvit), plus five works by the composer's friends and colleagues. Here, with this new release, the focus is on Marin, which is not quite 19 minutes in length; the remainder of the SACD is occupied by works and performances previously released on the OUR Recordings or Dacapo labels. On the DVD, the same performance of Marin is paired with an animated fantasy inspired by the music, and the rest of the DVD is devoted to a “portrait film”—in other words, a documentary—about the composer. It is about a half-hour long.
It is interesting to compare Marin with John Luther Adams's Become Ocean, another modern orchestral work inspired by the sea. Arguably, Become Ocean is the more literal of the two, particularly in its musical depiction of waves. In contrast, Marin makes you aware of the water's actual weight. The music has a very heavy sound—and if you've got speakers with a bass good response, wait until you hear this recording, which is an audiophile's dream (and a downstairs neighbor's nightmare). At the same time, Marin was composed to be as precise and detailed as chamber music; Axel Borup-Jørgensen knew what he wanted, and he was not a composer who left things to chance. Although he studied at Darmstadt, he was not a serial composer, and he preferred to follow his instincts than to adhere to dogma or formulas. However, as is stated at the start of the documentary, his goal was not originality, but honesty—particularly with himself, I would imagine. In his own way, Borup-Jørgensen was as exacting as Maurice Ravel, and perhaps I am not too wide of the mark when I suggest that there are similarities between Marin and La valse—except Borup-Jørgensen omits the waltz and drowns Vienna under megatons of salt water!
I enjoyed the “animated fantasy,” which tells a wordless story, although the story is open to multiple interpretations. Suffice it to say that it is set at the bottom of the ocean and features a humanoid civilization that experiences Arthur C. Clarke-like transformative events. The fantasy is quite beautiful, and (fortunately) about as far from Walt Disney and Pixar as one could imagine!
If one of the purposes of this release, as I supposed above, was to stimulate interest in this composer, then it is a success, at least for me. The documentary contains excerpts from many of his works, and these snippets left me wanting to hear more. I'm usually not hugely interested in watching instrumental music being performed, but I make an exception for percussion music (perhaps because a percussionist's movements resemble those of a dancer?), and percussion instruments were very important to this composer. One of the most interesting things I learned about Borup-Jørgensen from this documentary was that he took as much care specifying how he wanted phrases to end as he did specifying how he wanted them to begin, and his music is filled with precise and sometimes innovatively expressed directions for performers. I very much like the idea that endings are just as important as beginnings, as endings are preludes to silence, and silence is just a different sort of music.
For me, Marin is the strongest work on the SACD, and I consider the other works to be a very generous bonus, and perhaps music to grow into over time. Among these bonuses, however, the most striking is Pergolato, a work for solo treble recorder, here played by Michala Petri herself. Borup-Jørgensen composed it for her, and it was his final composition—a very touching way to end a career. Nachstück, for solo tenor recorder, also is very fine, and here, it is played by Elisabet Selin, the composer's daughter, and Petri's only private student.
The other recording of Marin is on the Marco Polo/Dacapo label, and features the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leif Segerstam. It is virtually unavailable, although it has been uploaded onto YouTube. It seems excellent too, but I don't hear a compelling reason for preferring it to this new OUR Recordings release. 
Raymond Tuttle, Fanfare

DVD: MARIN (Animated Fantasy), Axel (Portrait)
SACD: Selected Highlights
Marin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
let’s celebrate the magnificence of both this particular product and, especially, the magnificently fertile imagination of Axel Borup-Jørgensen.
Colin Clarke, Fanfare
22 November 2017
 
BORUP-JØRGENSEN MARIN—An Animated Fantasy. AXEL—A Portrait Film  Ÿ  Thomas Søndergård, cond; Danish Natl SO  Ÿ  OUR Recordings 2.110426 (DVD: 58:24 + SACD: 79:29) & Selections by Borup-Jørgensen taken from previous releases
 
This release marks a major step forward in our understanding of Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924—2012), whose music has so impressed me over the course of a number of releases. In Fanfare 40:4, I referred to a disc of his organ music as “a phenomenal release that rewards repeated listening” and placed it firmly on my 2017 Wants List, while a disc of guitar music in Fanfare 41:2 offered further cause for celebration.
Although presented in the order of the animated fantasy MARIN followed by the documentary Axel, one might perhaps suggest the order is reversed in practice. The background is vital in that one gains an appreciation of the importance of Marin the piece in Borup-Jørgensen’s output—it is his most extended orchestral work. The film portrait, AXEL, is both affectionate and informed, a veritable roll-call of Danish luminaries paying tribute to Borup-Jørgensen, from Michala Petri through to Per Nørgård, Ib Nørholm, Bent Sørensen and Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen. Most of all, though, we take away an impression of a composer who was above all honest in intent. A quiet man, he was nevertheless uncompromising in what he wanted. Family members are important, too, from the composer’s niece to his daughter, Elisabet Selin (who, along with Edition Borup-Jørgensen, funded the entire project).
Glorious scenery makes up an important part of the imagery we see, as this was an important catalyst for the composer’s imagination, also: the op. 24 piece Sommasvit (1957), for example, was directly inspired by a lake. A description of Borup-Jørgensen as a “lyric expressionist” seems to hit the nail on the head. Insights are shown, too, on Borup-Jørgensen’s compositional processes, and his intensely visual nature. He was an artist, also, and apparently his analysis of Webern Variations was mainly pictorial in nature. So, whilst there is no denying the influence of Darmstadt Modernism on Borup-Jørgensen, one has to admire how he married this strong structural grasp with his lyricism (parallels to Alban Berg spring to mind); only at the very end of his life did he loosen this tightness of construction.
The film of Marin by Allan O. Lückow is inventive and, well, odd. Or, as I put it in my listening notes, “odd, odd, odd.” Basing the imagery on some of the composer’s own drawings, we enter an alternative, submarine universe inhabited by creatures called “marenes”; their doings are laid over Borup-Jørgensen’s score of Marin. This could be a futuristic world, but even that is left open: perhaps it is a parallel one?. Surreal and intensely beautiful, it is a must-watch, but not for repeated viewings. The gold is really in the score itself, and for that we have the orchestral performance on the SACD. Interestingly, when Petri is interviewed in the film AXEL, she invites us, the listeners, to use images to make sense of Borup-Jørgensen’s complex and individual world. Whether the MARIN experiment works I am finding is mainly one of mood: sometimes it seems like genius, sometimes frankly I’d rather be left alone with the music.
Both films were premiered on the same evening at the Danish Filminstitute May 30th 2017.
The SACD opens with Marin minus any images. There is something primal about the opening of Marin (“Sea piece” in Swedish, composed 1953—60). Whilst chthonic grumblings might seem to be an integral and rather hackneyed stock-in-trade of any self-respecting modernist, Borup-Jørgensen seems to take it a step further. Perhaps only Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s similar openings actually evoke these spaces. Premiered in 1970 by the Danish National Symphony Orchestra under Herbert Blomstedt, the current performance is recorded in DXD format, allowing for maximal detail to come through. After Marin, the composer shied away from large orchestral pieces. Understandable given the sheer number of hours of work that went into this score, but something one regrets, nonetheless. The scoring is often deft and it is clear the composer knew exactly what he wanted. The performance is fabulous, attentive and expert, and climaxes rendered in bright, stunning sound.
Pieces related to the film AXEL appear thereafter, taken from both OUR Recordings and DaCapo catalogs. The focused flow of the Music for Percussion and Viola, op. 18, enhanced by Tim Frederiksen’s Bashmet-index power viola meeting the Percurama Percussion Ensemble under Gert Mortensen, offers during its course an alternative type of primitivism, with rhythms pounding away, their regularity and invitation to be subverted by other instruments.
While Für Cembalo und Orgel, op. 133/2 appears almost spooky in this performance (Mahan Esfahani ad Jens E. Christensen), perhaps part of that comes with it being in the shadow of Marin in the disc playing order. The composer’s daughter, Elisabet Selin, performs the ten-minute Nachtstück, op. 118/1 for tenor recorder of 1987. Use of breath through the instrument and multiphonics are superbly done. A rather harder-edged aspect of Borup-Jørgensen comes across in the pointillist Winter Pieces, op. 30b for piano of 1959, here performed by Erik Kaltoft. Jagged and forbidding, the score plays for only four minutes but nevertheless is actually quite exhausting to listen to. There is little respite.
The solo recorder piece Pergolato comes from that final period where control was being relaxed. The performer has significant choice about various parameters, and is performed here by Petri who, we are told in the documentary, ended up rehearsing for an upcoming performance of the piece with the composer in Petri’s car as it was the only time-slot they had. It is superbly, poignantly performed. And it is not the final offering, either: that is left to the 16-minute Coast of Sirens, op. 100 for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, guitar, piano, percussion and multivoice tape. Written between 1983 and 1985, it appears in a performance by the Aarhus Sinfonietta taken from the DaCapo release Carambolage. The vocal sounds on the tape are like a modernist version of Debussy’s “Sirènes.” There is a hypnotic element here that draws one in: a most beautiful piece.
This whole venture is clearly heart-based. It is also invaluable in our understanding of Axel Borup-Jørgensen. I wonder if OUR Recordings could be persuaded to produce a similar venture on related composers. Several years ago, I was knocked for six by a Proms performance of Gudmundsen-Holmgreen’s Incontri by the BBC Symphony under Thomas Dausgaard (it followed Langgaard’s Symphony No. 11, “Ixion,” both works receiving their UK premieres). Maybe Gudmundsen-Holmgreen could be next? In the meantime, let’s celebrate the magnificence of both this particular product and, especially, the magnificently fertile imagination of Axel Borup-Jørgensen.
Colin Clarke, Fanfare

DVD: MARIN (Animated Fantasy), Axel (Portrait)
SACD: Selected Highlights
Marin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
It is an inventive visual fantasy, mysterious in its ambiguity of image and narrative.
Ronald E. Grames, Fanfare
17 November 2017
Ronald E. Grames, Fanfare

DVD: MARIN (Animated Fantasy), Axel (Portrait)
SACD: Selected Highlights
Marin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
6 stars review (Maximum)
Peter Dürrfeld, Kristeligt Dagblad, ( Newspaper Denmark)
15 November 2017
6 stars (Full House)
Klogere på Axel
I begyndelsen af 1900-tallet komponerede franskmanden Claude Debussy orkesterværket ”La Mer” (Havet). En inkarneret Wagner-tilhænger sagde engang til mig, at den musik ikke lød som det storladne hav, men ”en tur i badekaret”.
En dansk komponist, Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012) gik 60 år senere i Debussys fodspor, da han skabte ”Marin”, et stort symfonisk digt, inspireret af havet. Det fik sin førsteopførelse i 1970 og anses for at være et af komponistens hovedværker.
Et nyt album fra OUR Recordings, bestående af en dvd og en cd, kan gøre os klogere på Axel – jeg tillader mig at være på fornavn med ham, for Axel” er titlen på den portrætfilm, der udgør den ene af de to film på dvd´en.
Portrætfilm kan ofte være fragmentariske i deres karakter, men når denne er så vellykket, skyldes det formodentlig, at mandens notoriske seriøsitet, hans på én gang elskværdige og grundige, næsten pedantiske væsen, har smittet af på de medvirkende.
Det andet indslag på dvd´en er en animationsfilm over ”Marin”, fascinerende, farverig og helt ordløs. Vi kommer ned under havoverfladen, hvor billederne begynder at spille sammen med Axels musik. Der er sære skikkelser (heldigvis) ingen pausefisk i denne undervandsodyssé. Livet er ikke altid let, kunsten og musikken ej heller.
 Sidstnævnte kan man lytte nærmere til på cd´en, der med en samlet spilletid på over 78 min giver syv eksempler fra Axels lange karriere med ”Marin” som det længste, hvor DR SymfoniOrkestret bliver dirigeret af Thomas Søndergård.
Det tidligste værk er ”Musik for slagtøj og bratsch” opus 18, fra midten af 1950´erne, det nyeste ”Pergolato”, opus 183, hvor Michala Petri excellerer i sin blokfløjtekunst. Fem minutters skønhed af den stringente slags. Axel var ikke manden, der leflede for det store publikum. Peter Dürrfeld, 15. november 2017
Peter Dürrfeld, Kristeligt Dagblad, ( Newspaper Denmark)

DVD: MARIN (Animated Fantasy), Axel (Portrait)
SACD: Selected Highlights
Marin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
Hommage an Axel Borup-Jørgensen
Remy Franck, Pizzicato, Luxemburg
14 November 2017
Remy Franck, Pizzicato, Luxemburg

DVD: MARIN (Animated Fantasy), Axel (Portrait)
SACD: Selected Highlights
Marin
Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012)
The whispering Gigant (6 STARS (Maximum)
Per Rask Madsen, Klassisk Denmark
27 October 2017
THE WHISPERING GIANT
As a person, Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012) was unassuming, but his abstract, lyrical music could be extremely intense. Despite the fact that his springboard was expressionism and the Darmstadt modernism of the 1950s, it possesses a spontaneity and greater sensuality than the often barren attempts made by his central European colleagues.
Borup-Jørgensen’s daughter, the recorder player Elisabet Selin, and the recording company OUR Recordings have during recent years been making a sterling effort to bring the composer more into the limelight. Snappier composers in a Danish context have tended to command listeners’ attention, but more people ought to allow themselves the pleasure of becoming engrossed in Borup-Jørgensen’s fascinating filigree world. The latest initiative is an excellent place to start, with something as rare as a new animated fiction film created for the major work ‘Marin’ 47 years after its first performance, along with a fine portrait film and, last but not least, a CD which dips into various phases of the composer’s long career.
The gigantic orchestral work ‘Marin’ (1963-70) was desperately wearing on the perfectionist Borup-Jørgensen, who almost threw in the towel several times during its composition. In a both abstract and tone-pictorial way and with an inconceivable wealth of detail the work depicts maritime scenes, and in conjunction with Lückow Film’s animated sequence the music becomes almost unbearably sinister. In the ambitious film we follow a strange sea-folk that has shells instead of legs, and a royal couple who gaze out over a city of seashells and mysterious monoliths; the plot offers plenty of space for one to be co-author, and Borup’s masterpiece in elemental forces acquires a new, exciting calibre in its new surroundings. The Danish National Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Søndergård’s new recording is also included on the accompanying CD, where it is possible to concentrate even more on their masterly rendition.
The portrait film ‘Axel’ provides a fairly all-round view of the composer, including interviews with the man himself, his daughter and various people from the world of music, so that we get to know about his background, his temperament, perfectionism, personal struggles and uncertainty, ideas about aesthetics – and much more besides. A few aspects are perhaps somewhat over-narrated, but in general the portrait gives one a fine picture of the composer Axel Borup-Jørgensen.
With its seven different works from 1956 up to 2011, the CD offers a nuanced picture and makes one even more eager to get to know this highly distinctive music. It is nothing less than fantastic with the both complex and yet immediately comprehensible world of detail we meet in such works as ‘Marin’, the sinfonietta work ‘Coast of Sirens’ and ‘Winter Pieces’ for piano. Per Brask Madsen, Klassisk, October 2017
6 stars (Maximum)
DEN HVISKENDE KÆMPE
Som person var Axel Borup-Jørgensen (1924-2012) stilfærdig, men hans abstrakte lyriske musik kunne være noget så intens. Nok tog den afsæt i ekspressionisme og 1950´ernes Darmstadt-modernisme, alligevel er den umiddelbar og mere sanselig end de ofte golde forsøg blandt hans centraleuropæiske kolleger.
Borup-Jørgensen datter, blokfløjtenisten Elisabet Selin, og pladeselskabet OUR Recordings gør i disse år en fornem indsats for at bringe komponisten frem i lyset. Mere slagfærdige komponister i det danske er nok løbet med opmærksomheden, men flere bør unde sig at lade sig opsluge af Borup-Jørgensens fascinerende filigranverden. Det nyeste udspil er et fremragende sted at begynde med noget så sjældent som en ny animeret fiktionsfilm skabt til hovedværket ”Marin” her 47 år efter dets uropførelse, samt en fin portrætfilm og ikke mindst en cd med punktnedslag fra komponistens lange karriere.
Det gigantiske orkesterværk ”Marin” (1963-1970) sled fortvivlende hårdt på perfektionisten Borup-Jørgensen, som nær opgav ævred flere gange under processen. På både abstrakt og tonemalende vis og med en ufattelig detaljerigdom skildre værket havscener, og til Lückow Films animerede sekvenser bliver musikken næsten uudholdelig uhyggelig. I den ambitiøse film følger vi et sælsomt havfolk, der har konkylier i stedet for ben, og dets regentpar, som skuer ud over en by af konkyliehuse og mystiske monolitter; handlingen giver god plads til at man selv kan digte med, og Borup-Jørgensens mesterværk udi elementarkræfter får en ny og spændende kaliber i de nye omgivelser. DR Symfoniorkestret og Thomas Søndergårds nyindspilning er også med på den medfølgende cd, hvor man kan koncentrere sig endnu mere om deres mesterlige fremførelse.
Portrætfilmen ”Axel” kommer et godt stykke rundt om komponisten med interview med manden selv, datteren og forskellige musikfolk, så vi lærer om hans baggrund, gemyt, perfektionisme, personlige kampe og usikkerhed, tanker om æstetik og meget mere. Nok bliver enkelte pointer overfortalt, men portrættet giver som helhed et fint billede af komponisten Axel Borup-Jørgensen.
Cd´en giver med syv forskellige værker fra 1956 og frem til 2011 et nuanceret billede og vækker endnu mere lysten til at lære denne helt særlige musik mere at kende. Det er rent ud sagt fantastisk med denne på samme tid komplekse og umiddelbart forståelige detaljeverden, vi hører i blandt andet ”Marin”, sinfoniettaværket ”Sirenernes Kyst” og ”Winter Pieces” for klaver.Per Brask Madsen, Klassisk, October 2017
Per Rask Madsen, Klassisk Denmark

Michala Petri, recorder
Lars Hannibal, guitar
Garden Party
"Effortless symbiosis of these two veteran collaborators"
Charlotte Gardner, Gramophone, UK
26 October 2017
Gramophone (UK)
With two highly contrasting album releases already under her belt this year (the premiere recording of Sean Hickey´s A Pacifying Weapon, and “Brazilian Landscapes” with guitarist Daniel Murray and percussionist Marilyn Mazur), the only thing you can absolutely guarantee with Michala Petri is whatever she does next she´ll be doing very soon; the rate at which she brings out new recording is nothing short of prolific and every one is entirely different to the last. As is “Garden Party”, a recital of nature-themed “character pieces” recorded with her regular duo partner, the Danish guitarist Lars Hannibal, in celebration of what is now their 25-year performing relationship.
Rather fittingly for a disc honouring this collarborative “home”, the lion`s share of its repertoire also lands Petri solidly on geographical home ground; the Garden Party of its title is a birdsong-inspired suite written in 1992 by her fellow Dane Asger Lund Christiansen, the programme opens with their compatriot Carl Nielsen´s originally-for-piano Humoresque Bagatelles, and there are even two dreamly lilting vignettes by Hannibal himself. In fact, there´s often a faintly dreamy, gentle quality to this programme, even in its perkier moments such as the “Leaping Dance” and “Elves dance” from Grieg´s Five Lyric Pieces (neighbouring Norway being the other Nordic nation gets a good shout). Combine that with the effortless symbiosis of these two veteran collaborators, and the fluidity and naturalness of Petri´s playing in itself, and it´s all too easy simply not to register how virtuoso so much of this music is, even amid the swirling acrobatics of the Presto from Lalo´s Fantaisie Norvégienne or the dizzily whirling figures of Nielsen´s “The Spinning Top”.
Ultimately, I suspect you´ve got to be pretty signed up to the recorder per se, and in the market for something gentle and “mood music”-esque, to genuinely fall for this album. However, it´s beautifully played.
Charlotte Gardner, Gramophone, UK

Michala Petri, recorder
Marilyn Mazur, percussion
Brazilian Landscapes
Anyone who favors things Brazilian will take to it. Or even those who simply love good music.
Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegatemusicreview
23 October 2017
Michala Petri, Marilyn Mazur, Daniel Murray, Brazilian Landscapes
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-F-1a-mVH2HE/We3xo42dnEI/AAAAAAAAY_w/PzBBXZ87rDYJY8vUM_WM800WX5ZalahegCLcBGAs/s320/71yqIzR4QLL._SL1000_.jpg
Some music to appreciate fully you have to let breathe inside of you for a space. That is true certainly of Michala Petri, Marilyn Mazur and Daniel Murray's Brazilian Landscapes (Our Recordings 6.220618). It needs to breathe inside your musical mind because it has a beauty made up of unusual parts that in turn form an unusual whole.

To start there is the instrumentation and the musical personalities at hand. Recorder, classical guitar and percussion? That in itself is unusual. And then the peopling of the instruments is special. Marilyn Mazur has been for years a very accomplished and innovative percussionist. She shows on this recording that she is ever more resourceful and brilliant in her use of congas and all sorts of percussive instrumental possibilities. Michala Petri plays a very vibrant and contemporary kind of recorder sounding. In her hands it is an instrument of jazzy provenance, very fluid and timbrally diverse. Classical guitarist Daniel Murray plays in a fully blossomed contemporary manner that takes into account the rich tradition of Brazilian and jazz-oriented possibilities without being unaware an unversed in the state-of-the-art stylistic parameters of the classical guitar art per se.

Put these three together with some very ingenious and moving arrangements that allow for and sound with a jazz-like spontaneity. The interactions of the three within the well-worked out arrangements gives us an unusual sonic depth and presence that plays out fully and meaningfully.

And then there is the repertoire, a good mix of classics and lesser know Brazilian classics and lesser known pieces along with a few nice Daniel Murray originals. The Brazilian derived fare includes songs and works by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Egberto Gismonti, Hermeto Pascoal, Heitor Villa-Lobos, plus Paulo Porto Alegre, Paolo Bellinati, Ernesto Nazareth, and Antonio Ribeiro. All of the material has substance and the Brazilian tinge both rhythmically and otherwise.

The result spans chamber classical structure-form and Brazilian jazz heat and drive.

It is beautiful. It needs a few hearings to encompass and then you are there. That is, if you respond to it like I did. I cannot say that there is anything quite like it. Anyone who favors things Brazilian will take to it. Or even those who simply love good music.

Very recommended. A sleeper but a keeper!
Posted by Grego Applegate Edwards at 7:22 AM https://resources.blogblog.com/img/icon18_edit_allbkg.gif
Labels: brazilian chamber classical-jazz, brazilian music for recorder classical guitar and percussion, michala petri marilyn mazur daniel murray brazilian landscapes gapplegate music review
Grego Applegate Edwards, Gapplegatemusicreview
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