PALLE MIKKELBORG (b.1941): Going to Pieces Without Fallling Apart (Concerto for Harp, Recorder and String Orchestra), Afterthoughts for Trumpet.
Catalogue Number: 10P067
Label: OUR Recordings
Description: In his career as jazz trumpeter, the composer has an impressive resume of collaborations with a wide diversity of leading figures in the jazz and new age field. Although he cites Ives as an important influence, this seems to refer mainly to a broad stylistic eclecticism, as Mikkelborg's concerto never approaches the wild extremes of dissonance or complexity of the American composer. The twelve sections, all bearing evocative titles and descriptions suggesting nature or spiritual concerns, occupy a realm of harmonic consonance in a gently tonal vocabulary with modal inflections, largely avoiding drama, confrontation or conflict, aside from a frenetic dance and some brief raucous clusters in the eighth movement. A little subtle pitch-bending is the legacy of jazz; otherwise there is nothing obviously 'jazzy' - in any sense - about the music. Broadly speaking, the piece is an agreeable amalgam of 'new spirituality', new age, somewhat cinematic image-painting (muttered sotto voce vocalizations at one point) and neo-romanticism, with a little minimalism thrown in for good measure. Thoroughly accessible and fun to listen to, but possibly not as ground-breaking or profound as the rather overwrought booklet notes try to suggest. A final track introduces the composer as trumpet soloist, in a kind of John Hassell 'Fourth World' idiom, which seems to be his natural habitat, incorporating some reminiscences of the main concerto. Helen Davies (harp), Michala Petri (recorder), Palle Mikkleborg (trumpet), South Jutland Symphony Orchestra; Henrik Vagn Christensen.