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Dmitri Shostakovich
Symphony No. 5 in D Minor, Op. 47
1. Moderato
2. Allegretto
3. Largo
4. Allegro non troppo

Igor Stravinsky
Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments
5. I. Largo – Allegro
6. II. Largo
7. III. Allegro

Knudåge Riisager
 8. Little Overture for Strings

Concertino for Trumpet and Strings
9. Allegro
10. Andantino
11. Rondo vivace

CD 2

Dmitri Shostakovich
from Katerina Izmailova
1. Zerebyonok k kobilke toropitsya (The foal hurries to the filly)
2. V lesu, v samoy chashche est ozero (There is a lake in the deepest part of the woods)

Arthur Honegger
Symphony No. 5 ‘Di tre re’
3. I. Grave
4. II. Allegretto – Adagio – Allegretto – Adagio – Allegretto
5. III. Allegro marcato

Bela Bartók
Violin Concerto No. 2, Sz 112
6. I. Allegro non troppo
7. II. Andante tranquillo
8. III. Allegro molto

Thomas Jensen Legacy, Vol. 2 ©
By Martin Granau

CD 1 of the present compilation features items from a pair of Thursday concerts. The first of them preserves a momentous occasion: Jensen’s very last appearance in the series, which took place less than a fortnight before his untimely death on 13 November 1963. He was conducting the Fifth Symphony which marked Dmitri Shostakovich’s attempt at self-rehabilitation following the stinging critique of his opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District on the front page of Pravda in January 1936. Allegedly penned by Stalin himself, the critique was headlined ‘Chaos instead of music’ and effectively silenced both the opera (which had been positively received up to that point) and its composer with the threat that ‘things could end badly’ if he did not amend his ways.

Eighteen months later, subtitling the new symphony ‘A Soviet Artist’s Reply to Just Criticism’, Shostakovich jettisoned the modernist language of both his opera and the Fourth Symphony which he had withdrawn from rehearsals at the time of the debacle. For the first time since his astonishingly precocious teenage debut with the First Symphony of 1925, he returned to a traditional four-movement form, now imbued with a heroic tone of triumph in the face of adversity. This tone is scarcely if subtly undermined by a characteristic piece of self-quotation in the finale, from a setting of Pushkin which the composer wrote immediately after the Lady Macbeth scandal. ‘Rebirth’ describes a ruthless barbarian who, with a thick paintbrush, blackens over a picture painted by a genius. ‘With the passing of time,’ runs the poem, ‘the crude daubings of the barbarian will dry and flake off like old scales. The beauty of the original painting will be visible once more.’

Such performances established a fruitful connection between the Soviet composer and a comparatively liberal outpost of Western culture, which culminated in the award of Denmark’s highest musical honour, the Léonie Sonning Music Prize, to Shostakovich in 1973. In one of his final foreign trips, the elderly composer travelled to Copenhagen and engaged in a colloquium with young composers including Hans Abrahamsen (type ‘Dmitri Shostakovich meets Danish composers’ into YouTube) which elicited his thoughtful and open-minded responses to both Nielsen and the up-to-date musical trends of the time.

The first recipient of the Sonning prize in 1959 was Igor Stravinsky, but the Russian composer’s music had featured on the DRSO’s programmes since the early 1930s, when Nicolai Malko introduced Le sacre du printemps among other pieces.

This performance of the Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments featured Herman D. Koppel, a father-figure in Danish music life for several decades after Nielsen, as a pianist, a composer and a teacher. Beyond its regular broadcasts and concerts for native audiences, the DRSO wished to establish an international reputation, and recognized that commercial recordings were the most effective means of doing so. From 1942 they began making studio recordings for both Danish and foreign labels with their regular conductors – not only the glamorous names of Malko and Fritz Busch but also Launy Grøndahl, Emil Reesen, Erik Tuxen and of course Jensen. During their first decade of commercial activity they recorded no fewer than 122 works, giving rise to the scurrilous charge that their free time was entirely taken up with making gramophone records.

In January 1949, the Danish label Tono recorded Jensen and the DRSO in a pair of works by Knudåge Riisager, who at the time was still making his living as a civil servant in the Danish government, though he had also been chairman of the Society of Danish Composers for the previous 12 years. The Little Overture for Strings (1934) is a lively work with an insistent melody that dances irresistibly from start to finish, interrupted now and then by brief passages of introspection.



EAN: 5709499912003