- Au fond de la nuit, for piano
- Piano Concerto, Op. 31
- Variations symphoniques, for piano, Op. 27
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Poul Rovsing Olsen: Klavierkonzert; Orchesterwerke based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Danish composer Poul Rovsing Olsen (1922-1982) was a bit of a Renaissance man, trained in law as well as in music. He was also a music critic and - as this disc shows - a composer of great talent; having written over eight works in nearly every genre. However, his music was a bit outside of the tide of the avant-garde and he remains a bit of an unknown. This disc is, indeed, a good way to get to know his music. The Symphonic Variations (from 1953) was his first major orchestral work and takes an initial melody and carries it through some tonal transformations, encompassing a twelve-tone row. The whole work, itself, never really dwells in an atonal context and, in fact, the Variations have a spritely and engaging verve to them. This work remains one of Olsen's most played pieces and one can hear why. The Piano Concerto immediately succeeds the Variations in composition sequence and structures the work in a very interesting way. While existing in a traditional three-movement, the role of the piano is really one of with the orchestra. Rather than using some very flourishy dialogue or concertante writing, the piano part is largely a part of the larger texture. Some reviewers have criticized the piano part for, in fact, not being showy enough. I find the sound and feel of the work to be atypical, to be sure, but very entertaining none the less. I especially liked the moody and extended central Larghetto. Au fond de la nuit (In the depth of the night) for chamber orchestra is the composer's musical tribute to the beauty of the night sky. With movements depicting "space", "Betelgeuse" (a prominent red giant star in the belt of the constellation Orion), "dead star" (like the pulsar and its emittent radio waves) and then a "return" to Earth; the work seems like a mysterious circular four movement voyage into out space. This work is the most strangely, but beautifully, orchestrated in this collection and quite mesmerizing. From 1969, this work is also "later" Olsen and shows development in his output over time. For me, I actually found "In the depth of the night" the most interesting work on this disc, although I should think that between all three of these pieces, there is a bit of something for everyone at stake. I would like to hear more from the relatively small collection of recorded works.