It is a real tragedy that from the end of the Second World War until the beginning of the 1990’s, Danish romantic music was practically ignored altogether both in Denmark itself and elsewhere, as history testifies to a glorious romantic repertoire second only to Germany. The last decade has seen a stirring revival of interest in Danish romanticism, and this double-CD set dedicated to the piano works of Louis Glass is more than welcome. An exact contemporary of Carl Nielsen, but not as influential, Glass composed a considerable number of important works, among which are six rambling symphonies and other orchestral pieces. But it is in the piano and chamber fields that one finds his finest contributions to the canon of European music, and this compilation is indeed a wonderful advert to Glass’s precociousness. The mainstays of this album are without doubt the two Sonatas Op. 6 and 25, two huge works of Beethovenian proportions full of dramatic strokes and highly original passages that tax the soloist to the limits.
The ‘Fantasi’ Op. 35 was Glass’ most popular work in his lifetime, while the Lyrical Bagatelles, Op. 26, the Fantasy Pieces Op. 4 and the 3 Piano Pieces Op. 66 highlight the composer’s excitable palette for colourful inventiveness.
Peter Seivewright’s interpretations are fastidiously detailed, and despite the work’s considerable demands, he plays with a winning ease and fluency that serve Glass’s cause marvellously well. A fascinating opportunity to discover one of Denmark’s most talented musical sons.