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Very fine Fanfare review

March 19, 2024

Peter Burwasser

IN TIME • Aros Guitar Duo • OUR 8.226919 (58:12)
BUUR In the spring LOHSE Ver BRUUN Dark is November ZWICKI In Time FRANDSEN Rollercoaster SIEGEL Vernalis’ Breakdown
The six works on this program were all written for the Aros Guitar Duo, consisting of Danish musicians Simon Wildau and Mikkel Egelund, between 2018 and 2021. The notes for the album state at once that “the music can be considered as one work in six movements,” a quality that certainly comes across in listening. It does beg the question of whether or not there was any collaboration amongst the composers, but I would have expected such a process would be mentioned in the notes, which is not the case. It is more likely that the flow is established by a deliberate ordering of the music by Aros Guitar Duo. As such, the grouping opens with a pastoral reinterpretation of a melody that goes back to 1500, per the composer, Asger Agerskov Buur, which is also the school song of the Aarhus Cathedral School, which Wildau attended. It is followed by Martin Lohse’s Ver, which also borrows a melodic basis from an old source, In vernalis temporis (In the springtime), by Morten Børup, a Danish polymath born in 1446. His music adds rhythmic complexity and drive to the mix, a quality that is enhanced by Peter Bruun’s Dark is November, now adding somber tones and anxious accents, as the title implies. The lilting, gentle music of Rasmus Zwicki acts as a kind of slow movement, and is yet another example of a modern take on an ancient melody. The energy picks back up with Rollercoaster, from John Frandsen. The regular patterns and propulsive tempos seem more like a fast, if dreamy ride on the autobahn (as long as we are in Europe), rather than a wildly stimulating amusement park rollercoaster. The sextet of pieces concludes with a lovely tribute to bluegrass banjo music from the solitary American composer here (although Wayne Siegel, a native Los Angeleno, has settled into a new life in Denmark, where he finished his formal musical education and never left). It is a charming wrap-up (replete with a sly musical “wink” as a final flourish) for an engaging and thoughtful program, beautifully played and produced. Peter Burwasser
4 Stars: An engaging program of new music for guitar duo from Denmark.

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