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  2L -
  Mare - Aurora Quartett
  Trygve Madsen: Grotesques and Arabesques, Wolfgang Plagge: Mare, Concerto Grosso III, Bjørn Kruse: Boogie Retention

Aurora Quartett (pianos)
Track listing:
  Classical - Instrumental
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Reviews: 2

Site review by mwagner1962 January 17, 2007
Performance:   Sonics:  
This recording came with a group of review samples from 2L. I have become quite a fan of the efforts of this Norwegian label, whose sound is quite fine to superb. I have to confess that I am not terribly familiar with music that features 4 pianists, so I gave this recording a number of listenings before I attempted a review.

What little I do know of music of this type is that some composers seemed to delight in getting together with friends and playing, usually for the fun of it. The Aurora Quartet, with two players at one piano, makes some fine music and obviously has fun while playing. This group is made up of two females and two males, and performs all over the world.

The music is all by contemporary Norwegian composers and the first composition (composer Trygve Madsen), called Grotesques and Arabesques, feature 5 movements using the first name of famous composers such as Dmitri (Shostakovich), Maurice (Ravel) etc. This selection is my favorite on this SACD. Each movement is composed in the style of the composerís name. Quite fun indeed. The remaining compositions are to me simply of passing interest.

While the musical selections do not blow me away, the sound is superb, something that is obviously the norm for 2L. Plenty of detail, air and space make for what should be an excellent addition to the library of fans of piano music.


Review by threerandot March 11, 2007 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
The Aurora Quartet are a charismatic group of pianists who play with flare and style in this 2L disc of works for four pianists.

Trygve Madsen
Grotesques and Arabesques(1987)
The opening work in this collection, which is made up of five short pieces, describes the composers each movement is named after. It starts with Dmitri (Dmitri Shostakovich), which is a lighthearted gallop. Maurice (Maurice Ravel) is more melancholy and the harmonies remind me of Francis Poulenc. Richard and Arnold (Richard Strauss & Arnold Schoenberg) is an interesting interplay between the soloists. The piece is atonal in nature which creates a tension between the performers. There is a playful dance near the end. Claude (Claude Debussy) is a light and airy piece and the last movement Sergej (Sergej Prokofiev) is a fun gallop with alternatiing slower sections.

Wolfgang Plagge
Mare Op. 93 (1997)
This work starts with a "Tranquillo" which has a rather hypnotic, perhaps even kaleidescopic effect with plenty of tone colors of the piano throughout. It starts with one piano, then another and so on joining in as the music swells. "Un poco piu inquieto" features one piano playing a short repeated figure that suggests a march with the other pianists playing around that main idea. The music swells into a great crescendo in the middle. There is an almost improvised feeling to this movement. "Nocturne - Lento" is calmer as the soloists use plenty of pedals to create swirling tones here and there. The closing "Tempestoso" suggests a coming storm with repeated figures and rhythms and dissonant harmonies. The soloists play, at times, in unison. There is a contrasting slower section recalling earlier moments in the piece which is sometimes interrupted by dissonances from the other soloists. The work ends calmly.

Wolfgang Plagge
Concerto Grosso III Op. 108 (2005)
This work, also by Plagge, begins with the "Molto Lento, tranquillo e maestoso" characterized by a series of short figures repeated, almost representing a felling of isolation. Again, a solo piano is joined by the others as the music swells and recedes with plenty of dissonant harmonies. "Vivo, energico - meno mosso, lugubre" features agitated rhthyms and stark harmonies. This movement is like many on this disc, anchored by one or two soloists playing repeated figures with the others playing in an improvisatory style. This is contrasted by a slower section with the dissonant harmonies popping in and out. A hammer stroke breaks the calm and the music lets loose into a storm.

Bjorn Krusse
Boogie Retention
The last work in this collection is the "Boogie Retention" which features stark harmonies and dancing rhythms which suggests "Boogie Woogie" music. The music is characterized throughout by fits and starts, repeated figures, dazzling finger work and fiery intensity.

All of the works on this disc are certainly eccentric and I would say my favorites are the "Grotesques and Arabesques" by Trygve Madsen and the "Mare" by Wolfgang Plagge. I also enjoyed the "Concerto Grosso" but I think the "Boogie Retention" goes on a little too long.

The sound is very good, especially when low notes are accentuated by plenty of pedal use. The soloists are divided across the front with the rears providing lots of ambience and depth. From what I can gather this is a PCM recording with more than adequite sound. A worthwhile purchase if you like your music with plenty of dissonance and virtuosity. Recommended.

(This review is for the Multi-Channel portion of the disc).

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Works: 4  

Bjørn Kruse - Boogie Retentio
Trygve Madsen - Grotesques and Arabesques
Wolfgang Plagge - Concerto Grosso III
Wolfgang Plagge - Mare