LEIF KAYSER (1919-2001): Concerto for Horn and String Orchestra (Albert Linder [horn], Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra; Doron Salomon), Trio for Oboe, Horn and Bassoon (Wincent Lindgren [oboe], Linder [horn], Ylva Holmstrand [bassoon], 3 Nordic Piano Pieces, Bagatelle {Leif Kayser [piano]).

Catalogue Number: 01V055

Label: Danacord

Reference: DACOCD 857

Format: CD

Price: $16.98

Description: Some years ago we welcomed the splendid symphonies (04I012, 02K014) of this fine and original composer who took the unusual step of partially suspending his musical career to study for the priesthood and then pursued parallel careers as priest, church musician and composer, but there has been nothing since until now. The concerto was composed over the period of Kayser's theological studies in Rome and his early career as a priest, which explains its long gestation and very likely its initial air of solemnity and sacred contemplation, eschewing entirely the hunting or military associations of the horn, at least until the finale, which has a bracing, open-air quality. The influence of Nielsen is absolutely unmistakable - perhaps reflecting the Nielsen of the Sinfonia semplice more than the sumptuous grandeur of the earlier symphonies, but the contemporary critical assessment that "Carl Nielsen rose to his Olympus, but sent Kayser down here" remains as true as ever. The work opens with a chant-like motif resembling a hymn, which gradually develops into an increasingly tense narrative, though without dramatic histrionics. A brief climax leads to a return of the opening material. The development of this then forms a kind of slow movement, serious, reverent and profound. The music then leads us into a rich, romantic landscape, where the soloist leads the way into the bracing, optimistic finale. The attractive little four-movement wind trio from 1961 is very Nielsenesque indeed, with neoclassical overtones, probably the legacy of his studies with Boulanger in the mid-1950s. The Nordic Piano Pieces take a most unusual approach to the transcription of folk music - in this case, ancient melodies from Iceland, Denmark and the Faroe Islands. Kayser makes little attempt to flesh the tunes out in rich, romantic harmonies; the spare, open intervals emphasize the music's archaic origins, and to describe the results as atmospheric would be an understatement. An austere, modal two-part song is followed by a substantial set of variations, emphasising a certain granitic monumentality on a simple, melancholy melody; and a final rough, stamping dance. Original 1983 LP release.


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