jensen legacy danacord

Thomas Jensen (conductor)
Legacy Volume 22
Tutter Givskov (violin)
Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra
Tivoli Concert Hall Orchestra
rec. 1958-62, live and broadcasts, Radio Concert Hall, Casino Slagelse and Esbjerg; 1942, studio
Danacord DACOCD932 [2 CDs: 136]

We’re up to volume 22 in this series and as before there’s a mixture of studio and live broadcasts, and – in this case – just the one 78 side. The focus here is on the Baroque and Classical repertoire which charts the Danish Radio Symphony in Copenhagen and on tour in the years 1958-62.

This series has been rewarding for its expansion of Jensen’s discography, something that is true of this latest volume. Much focus here is on his Mozart. He proves a robust exponent in Symphonies 33 and 34 – direct, honest, and not prettying the music. His tempi for slow movements are slower than they’re taken these days, of course, but are full of tonal generosity and there’s an especially fine bassoon principal. No.34 is of a type – robust, big band and thoughtfully shaped. The sole commercial example is the third movement of No.39 recorded for Tono in 1942 featuring the more small-scaled ensemble of the Tivoli Concert Hall Orchestra.

In May 1962 he and the orchestra toured, making a live broadcast from the Casino Slagelse where they were joined by long-lived violinist Tutter Givskov (1930-2023), who had studied in London with Henry Holst and was subsequently to become the first female professor at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. She recorded Gade and Lange-Müller Trios for Philips. Recordings in the Casino are at a much lower level than in the Radio Concert Hall, so be handy with the volume control. She is a small-scaled player, neat and precise though lacking a soloistic profile.

The second disc amplifies the Mozartian element but adds a variety of other composers. The orchestra had been trained and conducted by Fritz Busch but Jensen had never played under Busch and it doubtful whether it had retained much of Busch’s influence even in Mozart. The Corelli Concerto grosso is a warmly textured reading in which one can hear the fine concertmaster Leo Hansen in the finale. J.C. Bach’s Grand Overture (Symphony) in B flat major, Op.12/2 is performed with buoyancy and character – fine solo oboe in the central movement – at a concert on 27 September 1962 and Haydn’s Notturno followed a couple of months later. Here it’s the flute principal who shines most brightly. Mozart’s Serenade No.6, ‘Serenata Notturna’, was performed at the same concert as Symphony 33 heard in the first CD, and it allows us to sample the fine, alert playing of Hansen once again and the finely balanced solo strings in the finale, in particular – Hansen, second violinist Arne Karecki, violist Gunnar Frederiksen and double bassist Helge Plough Christensen.

The music from Les Petits Riens comes from the same concert as the Violin Concerto, as does the overture to The Marriage of Figaro and both suffer from the same low-level sound limitations, but the ballet music is pertly done. That leaves the overture to The Magic Flute, heard in decent sound during a tour to Esbjerg.

Granted the variations in sound quality, this is another discographically useful addition to Jensen’s range of recordings. The notes are the joint work of Martin Granau and Peter Quantrill and the trusty transfers are, as usual, by Claus Byrith. All are first releases except the Tivoli 78.

Jonathan Woolf

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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Symphony No.33 in B flat major, K319 (1779)
Violin Concerto No.3 in G major, K216 (1775)
Symphony No.34 in C major, K338 (1780)
Symphony No.39 in E flat major, K543: III Menuetto. Allegretto – Trio (1788)
Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)
Concerto grosso Op.6 No.3 in C minor (pub 1714)
Johann Christian Bach (1735-1782)
Grand Overture in B flat major, Op.18 No.2 (pub 1781) 
Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
Notturno in C major, Hob.II:31 (1788-90)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Serenade No.6 in D major, K239 Serenata Notturna (1776)
Le nozze di Figaro, overture, K492 (1786)
Les Petits Riens, K Anh.10/299b (1778)
Die Zauberflöte, overture, K620 (1791)