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CD Review

Harmonious Families

Volume 5

  • Carl Helsted:
  • Symphony #1 in D Major
  • Overture in D Major
  • Gustav Helsted:
  • Romance for violin and orchestra
  • Cello Concerto Op. 35
Karsten Dalsgaard Madsen, violin
Henrik Dam Thomsen, cello
Danish Philharmonic Orchestra, South Jutland/Giordano Bellincampi
Danacord 537 68m DDD
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Danacord continues to unearth several worthy works from the Danish romantic past in their "father and son" series. This time it is the turn of Carl and Gustav Helsted, both composers of singular reputation and of quite brilliant technique.

Carl Helsted's First Symphony is a case in point, this is a good- humoured jolly work that is very similar to Gade's essays in the genre. The opening Allegro maestoso is full of charming melodies that are well characterized by Bellincampi and his Danish orchestra. There is also much to enjoy in the Andantino con moto whilst the concluding Allegro con brio is almost irresistible in its joie de vivre and highly enjoyable conclusion.

The short Romance for violin and orchestra by Gustav also shows a remarkable talent whilst the rousing Overture in D Major by Carl is pretty demonstrative of the Mendelssonian influence that lurked in Danish circles in those days, it is a wonderful work nonetheless, full of sunny good humour and panache.

Gustav Helsted's Cello Concerto is very tuneful and is rather akin to Schumann's essay in the genre, it is quite genially played here by Thomsen who attempts to portray the piece as a typical virtuoso exercise. The soloist receives brilliant support from Bellincampi who are sympathetic and almost at one in the colourful accompaniment that permeates the work.

The notes to the CD include a few English anomalies but are detailed enough. These works don't have any competitors in the current catalogue and I doubt if you could hear them better played. As such this release is highly recommended.

Copyright © 2001, Gerald Fenech