This is surely a Winterreise too far. The finest interpreters – including, among tenors, Peter Schreier, Ian Bostridge and Christoph Prégardien – make the wanderer’s inner and outer journey through the snowbound landscape a cathartic experience. Hans Jörg Mammel, whose career has been largely in early music, musters a generalised sensitivity but never grips or haunts the imagination.
This Finlandia disc, which sadly never got a US release and is hard to find there, surveys Per Nørgård's works for strings across a broad span of the Danish composer's output, from the 1950s to the 1990s. All of these express the perennial concerns of Nørgård's work: ambiguity, "infererence" and the development of the tonal tradition. Juha Kangas leads the Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra.
In one of my earlier reviews of recordings of Nørgård’s music, I remarked that his musical and stylistic progress is far from a straight line. This composer is used to surprising even his staunchest admirers with unexpected twists and turns. This is certainly valid when considering his string quartets - ten at the time of writing. It may be worth reminding ourselves that his first essays in the genre are available on Kontrapunkt 32015 played by the Kontra Quartet. It’s a disc still worth looking out for.