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ClassicsOnline Home » HOLMBOE: Four Symphonic Metamorphoses
In the 1950s and 60s Holmboe wrote a series of pieces that he referred to as 'metamorphosis' pieces. This is a little confusing as all his musical works are based on metamorphosis of the musical material. However it refers in this case to orchestral works from the era of the 9th and 10th Symphonies which are not, officially, symphonies. They could be described as tone poems which have little in the way of a program except their titles.
The first of these metamorphosis pieces (not recorded here) is the Sinfonia in Memoriam, written after the 8th Symphony, which depicted the Nazi occupation of Denmark of ten years earlier. Then we get to these four pieces: Epitaph is quite symphonic (in three movements) and shares with the Sinfonia in Memoriam a funereal atmosphere and a mourning tone; Monolith and Epilogue are more abstract, though this didn't stop Holmboe from thinking about calling Epilogue his 9th Symphony (he had thought about calling the Sinfonia in Memoriam his 9th too).
Finally Tempo Variable (in Italian either ‘varied tempi’ or ‘variable weather’) is a little suite of four movements depicting different weathers (and tempi) and points forward to the late orchestral Preludes of the 1980s and early 90s with their depictions of nature.
All these works are amongst Holmboe’s highest achievements: they are immensely strong and characterful, full of modernist sounds, textures and discontinuities, whilst remaining connected, enigmatic and vital.more....
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HOLMBOE: Four Symphonic Metamorphoses