Not everyone will enjoy listening to Vagn Holmboe's Sinfonias I-IV (aka the "String Symphonies," aka Chairos). For some, perhaps even many, people, Holmboe's Sinfonias will sound dour and dreary when not despondent and depressing. For some, perhaps even most, people, Holmboe's Sinfonias will sound dimmer and darker then Bartók's Music for strings, percussion and celesta, if not quite as desolate and despairing as Pettersson's Concertos for strings. But for those people for whom auster and severe modernism is as mother's milk, Holmboe's Sinfonias will be purest pleasure and an absolute joy. Holmboe was a master of musical development and his Sinfonias are as cogent and compelling as the best music written in the middle years of the twentieth century. But beyond that, Holmboe was a master at expressing himself in music and for all the darkness and despair of his Sinfonias, the clarity and lucidity of his technique makes every subtlety and nuance of his thought and feelings come through. Although there are currently no other performances of the Sinfonias available for comparison, this 1997 recording of the works with Hannu Koivula conducting the Danish Radio Sinfonietta is completely convincing and Dacapo's sound is sharp, round, full, and warm.
Vagn Holmboe: Sinfonias I-IV (includes bonus CD - Vagn Holmboe: Chairos) Review
by James Leonard
Track Listing - Disc 1
|Sinfonia IV, for strings, Op. 73D|
Track Listing - Disc 2
|Kairos, for string orchestra, Op. 73|