String Against String
Da Capo Records
String Quartet No. 1, String Quartet No. 2 “Sunshine and Shadows,” Grave in Memorium Karsten Hoydal, Violin Concerto No. 1 “Songs of Seasons,” Echoes of the Past
Performed by The Sjaelland String Quartet, John Storgí¥rds, Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, and Juha Kangas
The string music by Faroese composer Sunleif Rasmussen has a wonderful shimmer, effective use of timbres, and a silky but tense form that holds each piece together. The two string quartets, effectively performed by the Sjaelland String Quartet, are both mature and stunning compositions. The second quartet’s picturesque title apty describes the overall feeling of light and dark colors and harmonies.
The two violin features, the Violin Concerto No. 1 and the solo violin piece Echoes of the Past sound thematically and emotionally linked even though the concerto was composed almost a decade later. Rasmussen’s string writing is vibrant and idiomatic, propelling each piece through delightful soundscapes. Grave for clarinet, strings, and percussion, is an ominous and sombre work but still as richly colored as anything else on this recording.