Danish String Quartet : Last Leaf


96kHz/24-bit, FLAC; ECM Records 581 5746 (supplied by www.highresaudio.com)

A sequel to their demanding Adès/Nørgård/Abrahamsen ECM album [HFN Dec ’16], this is a self-produced, helpfully annotated 16-track collection of mainly Nordic folk music, arranged by the group and including a reel after Dowland, ‘Shine You No More’, by the leader, Rune Tonsgard Sørenson. To add textural variety, he also plays harmonium, piano and glockenspiel. And cellist/bass player Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin contributes three compositions, ‘Shore’, ‘Intermezzo’ – especially delightful – and the unwinding ‘Naja’s Waltz’ with pizzicato backing. The traditional pieces also include ‘Unst Boat Song’ from the Shetlands and the Faroese ‘Stædelil’. It may remind you of the sounds of an Irish pub fiddle group – but with real finesse. And it was all cleanly recorded last January in the Kirsten Kjaer Museum, Frøstrup, with post-production at Stuttgart’s Tritonus Studio. Enjoyable! CB

Sound Quality: 85%

Hi-Fi News Lab Report

The thrilling sequences here [trk 15, see Graph above] certainly fill the ~45kHz bandwidth available to this 96kHz digital recording, though whether the ultrasonic harmonics are wholly native to the violin or downstream limiters is unclear. PM