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So popular and accessible is Heise’s music that he’s been comprehensively overlooked outside Denmark. There is an additional problem for non- Danish voices: making these robustly vernacular songs sound wholesome but not wet. Michael Schønwandt gets light and shade out of all of them, both the upbeat Tonernes flugt (‘Flight of the Notes’) and the two remarkable, elegiac songs that end the set, Danmarks kæmpegrave (‘Giants’ graves’) and a dirge from Shakespeare’s Cymbeline. The last is an important reference point, for all of Heise’s precocious work (he died in 1879, not yet 50) is marked with the same blend of Christian sensibility and almost pagan symbolism that marks the playwright’s late masterpieces. Great SACD sound, full of texture and individuation.

BRIAN MORTON Read the full review on Agora Classica

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