Mortensen: Symphony

Album review
Mortensen: Symphony



Label: Simax
Media: CD
Genre: Classical

One of the few Scandinavian symphonic rivals to Sibelius’ seven, Finn Mortensen’s monumental 1953 Symphony—four movements totaling 38 minutes of brawny turmoil and serene exultation, and a work of authentically Brucknerian heft and solemnity—here gets its second-ever (and best-yet) recording. Like Bruckner, Mortensen juxtaposes powerful, granitic orchestral tuttis with quiet, lorn woodwind echoes, spinning out long thematic lines into grand contrapuntal accumulations, the block- like phrases laid out in large-scale gravity- defying arches held aloft by the downward press of their weighty segments against each other. There’s some chromaticism imported from Hindemith, but the music seeks and eventually finds pure triadic resolution. All derives from a majestic six-note motto introduced shortly after the sinuous, arising-from-the-depths opening. This motto, which first begets a soaring melodic continuation, has an ineffable grandeur, somehow speaking as if in voice of the very earth on which we stand. Once heard, you simply can’t forget it. When it finally reappears (after a huge quadruple fugue) in its original form at the work’s magnificent conclusion a half- hour later, pealed out in broad hallelujahs by the full orchestra, it’s as if the heavens themselves have opened to disclose the full majesty of creation. 

More Info

  • primary artist, Munich Radio Symphony
  • composer, Mortensen
  • conductor, Mikkelsen
  • CD

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