David Alberman / Rolf Hind / Nicolas Hodges

Per Nørgård: Secret Melodies

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Danish composer Per Nørgård's music for piano is refreshingly free from dogmatic allegiance to a particular system or school of thought. It feels organically imagined and develops according to its own logic rather than any conventional expectations. Nørgård is not afraid of repetition and the use of extended ostinatos, but he is clearly not a minimalist -- the repeated patterns are part of a larger scheme that ultimately sounds more kaleidoscopic than systematic. In Unendlicher Empfang (1997), for two pianos and four metronomes, the music builds to a kind of frenetic speed and level of complexity that brings Nancarrow to mind, and Achilles and the Tortoise echoes similar irrational rhythmic relations that are hugely demanding for the performer but thoroughly engaging for the listener. Remembering (1989), like Stadier (2002), is for solo piano and is atmospherically evocative but musically simpler than the duet, and has a strong mystical element created by the performer's spectral-sounding whistling. British pianist Rolf Hind performs with effortless virtuosity, joined by pianist Nicolas Hodges in the piece for two pianos. Hind's own Das Unenthüllte (2003) for piano and violin alternately moves each of the instruments into the extremes of the aural foreground or background, to a ghostly effect. Violinist David Alberman performs the Hind and Nørgård's solo sonata The Secret Melody, (1993) with conviction and full mastery of the extended techniques both pieces require. Dacapo's excellent sound is realistic, vibrant, and well-balanced.

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