ANDERS KOPPEL (b.1947): Concerto for Violin, Accordion and Orchestra, Concerto for Saxophone, Piano and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 07K093
Description: This genre-crossing composer (son of Herman Koppel) has found the instrumental concerto, with its humanizing solo protagonist(s) and the possibility of close-knit dialogue between colleagues, so to speak, an especially fruitful form in which to write - to date he has composed 20. The combination of violin and accordion is an unusual one for a concerto, but has a huge tradition behind it in tango ensembles, on which Koppel draws in the lively, dancing first movement. There follows a naïvely melodic slow movement, a humorous and virtuosic scherzo, and a dramatically argumentative finale, also not without humour, underpinned by persistent percussion. The work is resolutely tonal, appealingly spiced with dissonance in the finale especially. The coupling begins with a kind of melancholy Blues, which gradually darkens and becomes wilder and ultimately more nightmarish in mood, signalling that this is a darker work than it first appeared. Optional passages permitting improvisation by the saxophonist are provided throughout this otherwise entirely scored work, adding an element of 'risk' and heightened energy. The extended second movement is a high-energy, frenetic chase which becomes actively aggressive before good humor finally takes over and resolves the work. Both pieces succeed brilliantly at sounding thoroughly modern and original, spontaneously appealing and engaging while avoiding self-conscious 'crossover' gestures and point-proving. Christina Åstrand (violin), Bjarke Mogensen (accordion), Benjamin Koppel (sax), Rikke Sandberg (piano), Danish National Symphony Orchestra/DR; John Storgårds.