Fine performances of appealing music
G.D. | Norway | 06/07/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Dutch composer Alphonse Diepenbrock (1862-1921) will be familiar to some, at least, through the superb Chandos releases under Hans Vonk of his music with orchestra (mostly vocal). NMC has embarked on an intriguing three-volume series of his songs - and they've got some rather familiar names on board the project - which will probably have less wide-spread appeal, but will still be a more than worthwhile exploration for the curious; at least on the basis of this first disc (which is admittedly the only one I've heard). As a composer, Diepenbrock was an auto-didact, and a certain formal awkwardness can sometimes be detected in some of the works here, yet there is a delightful freshness about them, a sense of coloration and life which makes them rather attractive. The first songs are rather derivative, highly romantic and sounding somewhat like a mixture of Brahms and Franck (they are still fine works, and contain some memorable ideas), but the remainder is written in Diepenbrock's own style with a harmonic palette and sensitivity to color reminiscent of Debussy and Wagner more than anyone else. If, the end results are sometimes a little bland, they are more often intriguing and invitingly life-affirming. The performances are very fine, and in particular Prégardien's ability to shade his various songs is impressive. Sound quality is good as well, and overall this disc can be very much recommended to the adventuresome."