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Gunnar Berg: Chamber Music Works with Piano / Asmussen, Kaltoft, Madsen, et al.

Album Summary

>Berg, Gunnar : Tronqué (Truncated), for marimba, cello & piano
>Berg, Gunnar : Tobrud (Thaw), for mezzo-soprano, violin, bass clarinet & piano
>Berg, Gunnar : ...for violin & piano
>Berg, Gunnar : ...for 2 cellos & piano, Version 2
>Berg, Gunnar : Prosthesis, for saxophone & piano
>Berg, Gunnar : Pièce, for trumpet, violin & piano
Performers Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Gunnar Berg's (1909-89) music has only recently become acknowledged in earnest in his native Denmark. This premiere recording of Berg's chamber music offers unusual instrument blends including saxophone, trumpet, bass clarinet and marimba; in addition, a mezzo-soprano sings in the major work Tøbrud from 1961: a piece whose title can now be said to have taken on symbolic meaning given the renewed interest in the composer.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: The Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, Southern Denmar (2009-06-??&2009-09-??&2010-).



Reviews

Great Dane
Gunnar Berg is another in a long line of Danish composers who are finally receiving long overdue attention, thanks to wonderful Dacapo recordings like this one. Berg is noteworthy for having written the first Danish serial composition in 1950, but its not necessary to be familiar with that imposing term to enjoy his music, which communicates with rare emotional directness. Adding to the musics accessibility is its basic tranquility; even Bergs orchestral pieces have a chamber music intimacy. The spare, evocative works on this release were written between 1949 and 1969, and feature minimal instrumentation. Piano is present on all tracks, accompanied variously by cello, violin, marimba, clarinet, trumpet, saxophone and voice. Each piece proceeds with almost stately deliberation, which allows the listener to focus on the intricacy of their construction while surrendering to their beguiling colors and textures. Bergs use of space and tonality reminds me at times of Webern, at others of Takemitsu, but his impressionistic language is fully original. He tends to use the piano in percussive fashion, relying on the stringed instruments to warm the edges around the musics cool heart. Listening to these works is like huddling near a fire on a cold winter day. Berg rarely discussed the structural underpinnings of his music, preferring to let his compositions speak for themselves, which they do with unsurpassed and affecting eloquence.
Submitted on 04/01/12 by Dean Brierly 
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Works Details

>Berg, Gunnar : Tronqué (Truncated), for marimba, cello & piano
  • Performers: Erik Kaltoft (Piano); Soren Monrad (Marimba); Niels Ullner (Cello)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 49 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1969

>Berg, Gunnar : Tobrud (Thaw), for mezzo-soprano, violin, bass clarinet & piano
  • Performers: Signe Asmussen (Mezzo Soprano); Erik Kaltoft (Piano); Kenneth Larsen (Basset-horn); Signe Madsen (Violin)
  • Running Time: 11 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern

>Berg, Gunnar : ...for violin & piano
  • Performers: Arne Balk-Moller (Violin); Erik Kaltoft (Piano)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1960

>Berg, Gunnar : ...for 2 cellos & piano, Version 2
  • Performers: John Ehde (Cello); Erik Kaltoft (Piano); Niels Ullner (Cello)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1958

>Berg, Gunnar : Prosthesis, for saxophone & piano
  • Performers: Erik Kaltoft (Piano); Torben Snekkestad (Saxophone)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1954

>Berg, Gunnar : Pièce, for trumpet, violin & piano
  • Performers: Arne Balk-Moller (Violin); Per Bye (Trumpet); Erik Kaltoft (Piano)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1949