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Anders Brodsgaard: Galaxy

Album Summary

>Brodsgaard, Anders : Galaxy, for orchestra
>Brodsgaard, Anders : Monk's Mixtures, for orchestra
Conductor Ensemble
  • >
Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"The mixing is clear and close (especially the percussion), and the Odense Symphony performs admirably. These are difficult works to pull off with the élan evident in this recording."-American Record Guide

ClassicsToday.com - David Hurwitz
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.

Gapplegate Music Review - Grego Applegate Edwards
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.

5 against 4
Best Albums of 2010 - #20
In terms of CD releases, precious little contemporary instrumental music has made any kind of impression this year, which i find rather worrying * Not so with Anders Brødsgaard, whose 40-minute orchestral work Galaxy, composed over 10 years ago, finally found a release on the innovative Danish Dacapo Records label * A work of that scale, composed as a single movement span, is likely to put off some people, but it's such a relief to hear music not constrained by the kind of generic limitations that afflict so much new music * Brødsgaard lives up to his cosmic title; drawing on a plethora of compositional ideologies, & structuring them on a spiral, he's created one of the richest orchestral works i've heard in a long time

La Folia - Grant Chu Covell
A continually unfolding 42:38 span, Brødsgaard's Galaxy charts a sure course. Sometimes rosy chords suggest Messiaen, with textured layers recalling Berio. Brødsgaard manages to spin dissonance and darkness without being morose. In Monk's Mixtures, three tightly crafted orchestral pieces riff upon a chord or several notes. The modal Moving tips its hat to Bartók as much as to Monk, who, in the event, make amicable bedfellows. I've noted Brødsgaard's fluidity before.

American Record Guide - Ira Byelick
The mixing is clear and close (especially the percussion), and the Odense Symphony performs admirably. These are difficult works to pull off with the elan evident on this recording.

David's Review Corner - David Denton
Tonality and atonality are just archaic musical forms to Anders Brodsgaard, his music being free from such academic constraints
. Born in 1955 his educational pedigree is impeccable, Nørgård and Rasmussen among his compositional mentors, their input into his life being duly acknowledged. But he is taking sounds into new horizons probably far in advance of his audiences. He works on a massive musical canvass in Galaxy, an score that uses such an enormous orchestra it would rather dwarf Mahler's demands. It is mammoth in its structure, the one-movement piece continuing for about forty-two minutes without a break. It is designed as a picture of all that we see looking out into space depicted with slow and fast sounds running simultaneously, the music's complexity extending to strings divided into 25 different parts, and the work ending in a thunderclap. It must be hellishly difficult to perform, the Odense Symphony and the conductor, Christopher Austin, sticking to their task with an admirable feel of security. We come back to earth for Monk's Mixtures, three sections with Bordsgaard's youthful memories of music by the jazz luminary, Thelonious Monk. Reading the disc's notes it all looks easy on the ear, and so it is in the tuneful second section, but this too belongs to a sound world that our grandchildren may well take for granted.The recording captures Galaxy with a high degree of definition, so will this disc from Dacapo appear in SACD? That could be quite something.

La Folia - Grant Chu Covell
A continually unfolding 42:38 span, Br°dsgaard's Galaxy charts a sure course. Sometimes rosy chords suggest Messiaen, with textured layers recalling Berio. Br°dsgaard manages to spin dissonance and darkness without being morose. In Monk's Mixtures, three tightly crafted orchestral pieces riff upon a chord or several notes. The modal Moving tips its hat to Bart=k as much as to Monk, who, in the event, make amicable bedfellows. I've noted Br°dsgaard's fluidity before.

5 against 4
Best Albums of 2010 - #20. In terms of CD releases, precious little contemporary instrumental music has made any kind of impression this year, which i find rather worrying ò Not so with Anders Br°dsgaard, whose 40-minute orchestral work Galaxy, composed over 10 years ago, finally found a release on the innovative Danish Dacapo Records label ò A work of that scale, composed as a single movement span, is likely to put off some people, but it's such a relief to hear music not constrained by the kind of generic limitations that afflict so much new music ò Br°dsgaard lives up to his cosmic title; drawing on a plethora of compositional ideologies, & structuring them on a spiral, he's created one of the richest orchestral works i've heard in a long time

David's Review Corner - David Denton
Tonality and atonality are just archaic musical forms to Anders Brodsgaard, his music being free from such academic constraints.
> Born in 1955 his educational pedigree is impeccable, N°rgsrd and Rasmussen among his compositional mentors, their input into his life being duly acknowledged. But he is taking sounds into new horizons probably far in advance of his audiences. He works on a massive musical canvass in Galaxy, an score that uses such an enormous orchestra it would rather dwarf Mahler's demands. It is mammoth in its structure, the one-movement piece continuing for about forty-two minutes without a break. It is designed as a picture of all that we see looking out into space depicted with slow and fast sounds running simultaneously, the music's complexity extending to strings divided into 25 different parts, and the work ending in a thunderclap. It must be hellishly difficult to perform, the Odense Symphony and the conductor, Christopher Austin, sticking to their task with an admirable feel of security. We come back to earth for Monk's Mixtures, three sections with Bordsgaard's youthful memories of music by the jazz luminary, Thelonious Monk. Reading the disc's notes it all looks easy on the ear, and so it is in the tuneful second section, but this too belongs to a sound world that our grandchildren may well take for granted.The recording captures Galaxy with a high degree of definition, so will this disc from Dacapo appear in SACD? That could be quite something.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Odense Concert Hall.



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Works Details

>Brodsgaard, Anders : Galaxy, for orchestra
  • Conductor: Christopher Austin
  • Notes: Odense Concert Hall (11/03/2008-11/05/2008)
  • Running Time: 42 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 1990-1993

>Brodsgaard, Anders : Monk's Mixtures, for orchestra
  • Conductor: Christopher Austin
  • Notes: Odense Concert Hall (04/27/2010-04/29/2010)
  • Running Time: 26 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Written: 2009