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CD Review

Herman D. Koppel

Composer & Pianist, Volume 1

  • Herman D. Koppel:
  • Piano Concerto #3, Op. 45
  • Concerto for Violin, Viola & Orchestra Op. 43:
  • Clarinet Concerto, Op. 35
  • André Jolivet: Piano Concerto
  • Igor Stravinsky: Concerto for Piano & Wind Instruments
  • Béla Bartók: Piano Concerto #1
Hermann D. Koppel, piano
Else Marie Bruun, violin
Julius Koppel, viola
Louis Cahuzac, clarinet
Danish State Radio Symphony Orchestra/Erik Tuxen, Mogens Wøldike, Thomas Jensen, Nicolai Malko
Danacord 561-562 135m ADD

Hermann D. Koppel was one of the outstanding pianists from the Danish school and was also a composer of singular ability. His Third Concerto explores post-modern sounds and is structured in a sort of jazzy style resembling later Stravinsky but with a distinctive voice. The DSRSO gives a committed accompaniment conducted by the legendary Erik Tuxen.

I preferred Koppel's Double Concerto which is altogether much more accessible especially towards the central parts which lead to an energetic Rondo of almost ferocious power. The soloists are Elsie Marie Brun and Julius Koppel, respectively wife and brother of the composer.

The Clarinet Concerto is quite obviously reminiscent of Carl Nielsen but Koppel's originality is also evident. Cahuzac gives a splendid performance and the orchestra plays like devils under Tuxen's baton. The second disc is handed over to three concertos by Koppel's contemporaries. He blazes away through Jolivet's formidable work whilst the Stravinsky concerto is occasionally rather under-characterized, no doubt suffering slightly from indifferent sound. The Bartók Third is brilliant in every way, this is truly astonishing pianism all the way.

Although some of the recordings date back to the late 40's, the sound is never short of adequate and documentation sheds more light on Koppel's contribution to the arts in general. However, this is strictly for the specialist in modern music.

Copyright © 2001, Gerald Fenech