Thursday, March 12, 2015

Vagn Holmboe - Solo & Chamber Works for Guitar - Sonatas Nos. 1 & 2 for guitar - 5 Intermezzi for Guitar - Duo Concertato for Violin & Guitar - Parlare del più e del meno - Canto e Danza for Recorder & Guitar - 7 Folk Ballads for Recorder & Guitar - Dacapo 2012

Hello everyone. I've been without any real free time lately, but hopefully this weekend will allow me time to add several posts. I need the diversion and serious listening time desperately..

When the Danish composer Vagn Holmboe (1909-96) started to write guitar music, he had already been composing for half a century. Captivated by this ancient instrument, Holmboe wrote two beautiful sonatas and a number of solo pieces as well as duets for guitar and other instruments, combining his love of simple, transparent structures and organic musical development with the folklore of foreign cultures and his own Nordic roots. This disc is a guitar lover's delight (I know I'm
always delighted!) and while Vagn Holmboe's guitar music is much less familiar than most works from his extensive output, it has charm and substance, and it is every bit as enjoyable/wonderful/ and is superbly crafted.  


Vagn Holmboe began writing for the guitar at the age of 70, and then continued to create works for the instrument for another 13 years. It's not clear what initially drew him to the instrument. He said little about it other than to comment that he wanted to write for it, and so he did. He first composed more formal works, the two Guitar Sonatas on this disc. Each is a suite of thematically related pieces, worked out in the organic way that he typically developed his material, and very concise, especially the second of these. Folk qualities were impossible to avoid, however, as a listen to many of the works here will demonstrate. Still, as the booklet notes point out, this is hardly Holmboe taking up "light music" at the end of his life, for there is much complexity and sophistication of invention. The "Five Intermezzi for Guitar" which followed two years later in 1981, are of a similar character, but the composer is starting to actually embrace the folk connections, using a folk-like melody of obvious Spanish flavor as a unifying theme, and adding characteristic rhythmic percussive effects and shifting meters as well. 

In 1983, he went further with "Seven Folk Ballads" employing actual folk tunes from England, Israel, France, Ukraine, and his native Denmark. The original intent was to create duos for balalaika and guitar, but eventually the composer opted for the more complementary sound of the recorder. The setting of each tune, beginning with the familiar 'The Three Ravens' from England, captures the character of the folk melody with simplicity and grace. In the fantastic "Duo Concertato for Violin and Guitar" (1986) the violin adds an Eastern European quality as the two instruments engage in a witty and sometimes dramatic conversation. In the last solo work, the introspective "Parlare del più e del meno" (1988), the conversation becomes a monolog, internalized in five very short movements of great density, rhythmic freedom, and centered calm. I'm tempted to say that this is one of my 'favorite' works on the disc, however like a child talking about colors-I find that everything here is my 'favorite'. Vagn Holmboe's last chamber work for guitar, "Canto e Danza", written in 1992 when Holmboe was 83, is a set of variations on a Spanish harvest song, in three contrasting movements, followed by a lively baroque dance movement which sounds like the work of a younger man. Simply delightful.

The stylistic rather than strictly chronological structuring of the program, working from the more serious sonatas to the encore-like folk ballads, works beautifully. The performers, all outstanding Danish musicians, capture the delicate personality of each work perfectly, most especially guitarist Jesper Sivebæk.

Enjoy!

Vagn Holmboe_Solo_And_Chamber_Works_For_Guitar-Tzadik.zip

http://www4.zippyshare.com/v/88jwhw0P/file.html

18 comments:

Scraps said...

Holmboe is my favorite composer! yet I don't have this one. I do have a very old CD (for a CD) called Sonatas & Intermezzi (for solo guitar) played by Maria Kämmerling.

Vidal said...

Hi, Tzadlik, do yo have, by any chance, the ballet Spalícek by Bohuslav Martinu? If so, can you uploadvit with complete scans? Thanks a lot.

Thttp://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000VX1QFO/ref=s9_simh_gw_p15_d0_i1?pf_rd_m=A3

theblueamos said...

A truly wonderful post T Z I do not have skyscraper piles of cds,but rather 4 terabytes of music that I have to arrange in such a way that I can find everything quickly.The pains of the plentiful.You sound a wee bit better,I hope my impression is true and that you are on a better track.Be well and keep well. Re guards from Jerusalem

Paul Terry said...

Thanks so much! This looks very tasty. DLing now!

Paul Terry said...

Well this one is perfect! I have been focused on classical guitar music for some time now and my preference is modern era. This is absolutely luxurious music. Really enjoying this album. Thank you again, I can make an informed purchase, now!

Tzadik said...

Hi there Scraps, good end-of-the-weekend to you.
Holmboe is one of my favorite composers as well. His music is all to die for-especally the chamber concertos, symphonies and string quartets! Well and everything else too.. The cd you are referring to, is it a BIS record? Regards

TZ

Tzadik said...

Hello Vidal. I do indeed have Spalicek somewhere, however not that disc. The one I have is also on Supraphon however. When I locate it I will post it for you. TZ

Tzadik said...

Hi tba, how nice to hear from you. 4 TB is impressive, you are indeed as bonkers as I am with music ;) I am happy you like the disc, it is a special one. And, I am feeling a tad better, although it can be a real seesaw with me :/ Be well, your TZ

Tzadik said...

Hey Paul, I knew you would love this (yep had you in mind partially for this post). I have some amazing guitar discs that I plan to import, will be posting some of them soon :) TZ

Scraps said...

Unfortunately, my CDs are in boxes, preparing for moving. I don't think it's Bis; I've found a small picture on the net:

https://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/vagn_holmboe/sonatas_and_intermezzi__for_solo_guitar___maria_kammerling_/

Scraps said...

I have it, though, in MP3 form. I can post it, if anyone wants it.

Paul Terry said...

More modern guitar music would be very welcome, my friend! This album was a total gem and your notes about it are very insightful. So far one of my favorites of your posts here!

Alejandro said...

Thanks, Tzadlik!!! Perhaps is this version?

http://pixhst.com/pictures/968227

Tzadik said...

Hey Scraps, you are right, it's not BIS but a small Danish label. I for one would love to hear it, but do not worry if you are lacking the time. Otherwise you could add it to the comments here (zippyshare link etc.) or I can post it to the blog with credit to you, my friend. TZ

Tzadik said...

Hi Paul, so happy you like it so much, knew you would :) I made a nice pile of modern guitar music to post recently, however I have been too busy really to post stuff :/ Will get to it soon! TZ

Tzadik said...

Alejandro, it's not that version either, ha.. It must be quite out of print. Not that it's an ancient recording, but that's the way it goes w classical music-sometimes I cannot even find pictures or mention of discs that I own anywhere online! TZ

Vidal said...

But, it is the complete recording of the ballet? Would you please tell me who are the performers? If there is no inconvenience, of course. Excuse me for being so annoying about this. Greetings.

Scraps said...


Vagn Holmboe - Sonatas & Intermezzi:

http://www70.zippyshare.com/v/OeBKM9To/file.html

This is just the music; when I converted it, it was just for me, and right now my CDs are in boxes preparing for moving. Hope you like it!