Magazine article Gramophone

Rasmussen: Symphony No 2

Magazine article Gramophone

Rasmussen: Symphony No 2

Article excerpt

Rasmussen

Symphony No 2, 'The Earth Anew' Cyndia Sieden sop Bo Skovhus bar Academic Male Voice Choir of Helsinki; Merry Musicians Male Voice Choir; Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra / John Storgards Dacapo (F) 8 226175 (53' * DDD * T/t)

We've waited a long time for the successor to Sunleif Rasmussen's First Symphony, Oceanic Days (1997). John Storgards eventually lost patience and commissioned a second symphony from the Faroese composer himself, with help from the Helsinki Philharmonic and a consortium of foundations. The piece was first performed in 2015 in Helsinki in a concert that included Sibelius's Kiillervo.

There are clear parallels with the earlier work, not only in terms of scoring but also in the narrative recounting of an old Nordic (in this case, Norse) myth. But the story of the tree of life Yggdrasil reminds us too of Wagner's borrowing of the tale for The Ring's World-Ash Tree. In the final movement of Rasmussen's symphony the sun turns black and the land sinks into the sea; the rebirth that follows feels much like that which comes after Brunnhilde's immolation.

Indeed, Rasmussen's new symphony is a bold, imposing piece that leaves multiple residues in its wake. The music feels every bit as though it's been simmering inside the composer for the two decades since its predecessor. …

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