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Vagn Holmboe: Complete String Quartets

Audio Samples

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 1, Op. 46
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 3, Op. 48
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 4, Op. 63
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 2, Op. 47
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 5, Op. 66
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 6, Op. 78
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 7, Op. 86
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 8, Op. 87
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 9, Op. 92
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 10, Op. 102
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 11, Op. 111
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 12, Op. 116
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 13, Op. 124
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 14, Op. 125
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 15, Op. 135
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 17 ("Mattinata"), Op. 152
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 19 ("Serata"), Op. 156
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 20 ("Notturno"), Op. 160
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 16, Op. 146
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 18 ("Giornata"), Op. 153
>Holmboe, Vagn : Svaerm, for string quartet, Op. 190b
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartetto Sereno, for string quartet ("String Quartet no 21") (completed by Per Norgard), Op. 197 (

Album Summary

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 1, Op. 46
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 3, Op. 48
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 4, Op. 63
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 2, Op. 47
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 5, Op. 66
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 6, Op. 78
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 7, Op. 86
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 8, Op. 87
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 9, Op. 92
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 10, Op. 102
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 11, Op. 111
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 12, Op. 116
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 13, Op. 124
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 14, Op. 125
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 15, Op. 135
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 17 ("Mattinata"), Op. 152
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 19 ("Serata"), Op. 156
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 20 ("Notturno"), Op. 160
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 16, Op. 146
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 18 ("Giornata"), Op. 153
>Holmboe, Vagn : Svaerm, for string quartet, Op. 190b
>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartetto Sereno, for string quartet ("String Quartet no 21") (completed by Per Norgard), Op. 197 (
Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Vagn Holmboe (1909-96) counts as one of the greatest 20th-century composers of string quartets. Holmboe's music is dynamic, organic and alive, and his musical language is rooted in the Nordic landscape but also reveals his keen interest in the folk music of Eastern Europe. This unique collection comprises all Holmboe's string quartets in the highly acclaimed recording by the Kontra Quartet, who enjoyed a close collaboration with the composer. "So good are the Kontra Quartet's interpretations that one actually becomes unaware of them, and dwells on the music itself, which is unremittingly glorious. Very strongly recommended." - Gramophone

"So good are the Kontra Quartet's interpretations that one actually becomes unaware of them, and dwells on the music itself, which is unremittingly glorious. Very strongly recommended." - Gramophone



Reviews

These belong in the pantheon
“Controlled ecstasy” is how the late Danish composer Vagn Holmboe described his music. It’s a remarkably apt assessment, given the intense and affecting emotional currents that course through his music. That emotive quality achieves perhaps its greatest range and highest pitch in his 21 string quartets, which make a welcome reappearance in this lavish Dacapo box set. The remarkably prolific composer (in addition to his quartets, he wrote 13 symphonies, chamber and string symphonies, numerous concertos, choral music, etc.) is widely recognized as Denmark’s most important musician after Carl Nielsen. Stylistically, Holmboe was a classicist, who didn’t venture deep into the waters of radical experimentation like many of his contemporaries. This doesn’t mean his music isn’t modern and adventurous. While he generally worked within tonal compositional parameters, he often walked the line between tonality and dissonance. Holmboe’s music is never predictable. One is continually surprised at the melodic directions and shifting levels of urgency in these works. Those who like to classify composers mark him as being influenced by the Second Viennese School; he’s also been compared to Bartok and Carter, although Holmboe is a bit less astringent than either of them. The most important thing to realize is that these are among the greatest and most affecting string quartets of the 20th century. And it’s unlikely that they will ever be given better interpretations than these recorded by the Kontra Quartet. Simply superb.

Submitted on 07/30/11 by Dean Brierly 
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Works Details

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 1, Op. 46
  • Running Time: 27 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1949

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 3, Op. 48
  • Running Time: 23 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1949

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 4, Op. 63
  • Running Time: 23 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 2, Op. 47
  • Notes: Frimurerlogen (06/19/1995-06/20/1995)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1949

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 5, Op. 66
  • Running Time: 9 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1955

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 6, Op. 78
  • Notes: Frimurerlogen (06/19/1995-06/20/1995)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1961

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 7, Op. 86
  • Notes: Danish Radio Studio 2 (1996-09-18_1996-09-20&1997-)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1964-1965

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 8, Op. 87
  • Notes: Danish Radio Studio 2 (1996-09-18_1996-09-20&1997-)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1965

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 9, Op. 92
  • Notes: Danish Radio Studio 2 (1996-09-18_1996-09-20&1997-)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1965

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 10, Op. 102
  • Notes: Danish Radio Studio 2 (1997-12-16_1997-12-18&1998-)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1969

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 11, Op. 111
  • Notes: Danish Radio Studio 2 (1997-12-16_1997-12-18&1998-)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1972

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 12, Op. 116
  • Notes: Danish Radio Studio 2 (1997-12-16_1997-12-18&1998-)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1973

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 13, Op. 124
  • Notes: Danish Radio Studio 2 (1997-12-16_1997-12-18&1998-)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1975

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 14, Op. 125
  • Notes: Danish Radio Studio 2 (1997-12-16_1997-12-18&1998-)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1975

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 15, Op. 135
  • Notes: Danish Radio Studio 2 (1997-12-16_1997-12-18&1998-)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 48 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1977-1978

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 17 ("Mattinata"), Op. 152
  • Notes: Danish Radio Studio 2 (2000-06-24_2000-06-25&2000-)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 35 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1982

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 19 ("Serata"), Op. 156
  • Notes: Danish Radio Studio 2 (2000-06-24_2000-06-25&2000-)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 31 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1982

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 20 ("Notturno"), Op. 160
  • Notes: Danish Radio Studio 2 (2000-06-24_2000-06-25&2000-)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 28 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1985

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 16, Op. 146
  • Notes: Danish Radio Studio 2 (1999-12-15_1999-12-16&2000-)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1981

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartet for Strings no 18 ("Giornata"), Op. 153
  • Notes: Danish Radio Studio 2 (1999-12-15_1999-12-16&2000-)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1982

>Holmboe, Vagn : Sværm, for string quartet, Op. 190b
  • Notes: Danish Radio Studio 2 (1999-12-15_1999-12-16&2000-)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1992

>Holmboe, Vagn : Quartetto Sereno, for string quartet ("String Quartet no 21") (completed by Per Norgård), Op. 197 (
  • Notes: Danish Radio Studio 2 (1999-12-15_1999-12-16&2000-)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1996