The Recorder Magazine (UK) The result care with which this album has been put together will certainly encourage more attention to be given to Jørgensen`s music.
This album by contemporary Danish composer Axel Borup-Jørgensen starts with a bang – but I`ll return to the opening track later in the review.
Those unfamiliar with Jørgensen`s recorder music (which may be most people as the album comprises mainly world premiere recordings) and would like a gentle introduction could start with Pergolato. This was Jørgensen`s final composition before he died in 2012 and is the most obviously melodic piece on the album, giving Michala Petri an opportunity for beautifully expressive solo treble recorder playing. This melodic style is less obvious on the other tracks, but another characteristic og Jørgensen`s recorder writing is found in Birds Concertsfor solo descant where the influence of bird song is apparent, with short motifs developing into extended chirruping. Indeed many of the tracks bring to mind animal calls and scurrying withtin broad scenic vistas, particularly in Nachtstückfor solo tenor with Elisabet Selin tackling a number of striking multiphonic, percussive and vocalization effects. A naturalistic sound world is evoked also in Architraves with Petri playing solo sopranino recorder.
The harpsichordist Ingrid Myrhøj joins Elisabet Selin in Zwiegespräch and again in Fantasia; pieces that sound brittle, icy, crystalline and at times quite brutal but, as quite often in the other pieces, also include long plain notes in the recorder. This characteristic is found in the opening track – the one that starts with a bang- Periphrasis. At nearly eleven minutes in duration this is the most substantial piece on the album. It was written in 1977 for flute and percussion the revised for recorder and percussion in 1993-94. Percussionist Gert Mortensen begins the piece with bold drums and cymbals whilst the recorder has contrasting long subdued notes. During the piece the recorder emerges with more strident material and the percussion changes to more brilliant crotales and triangle. The recorder and percussion then both revert to a quite “truce” after what has seemed like a “men are from Mars, woman from venus” sort of piece. This “confrontational” style seems to chime with what the Classical Composers Database describes as Jørgensen`s stylistic “atonal expressionism… pointillistic…and uncompromising”.
The final track Notenbüchlein is for solo descant recorder and ends the album with a softer harmonic language that is not found in many of the other pieces.
Overall the collection could be thought as a “family album”. Elisabet Selin is the daughter of Axel Borup-Jørgensen and Ingrid Myrhøj and according to the album notes, was Michala Petri`s only pupil. The result care with which this album has been put together will certainly encourage more attention to be given to Jørgensen`s music. Information about the composer, together with samples recordings and scores, can be found online at www.borup.jorgensen.dk. Paul Bunell, March 2014