In the last week of January, four chamber-orchestral works by Askell Masson were released on the Naxos label. Performers are the Caput sinfonietta, tuba soloist Jens Björn-Larsen, singer Gudrun Olafsdottir and conductor Joel Sachs.
All the works on the CD; Chamber Symphony, Elja, Ymni, and Maes Howe (Tuba Concerto) have been published as sheet music by Editions BIM in Switzerland.
Programme notes are written by the eminent critic Hilary Finch and all the works have been presented at important music festivals and concerts, such as the Gulbenkian in Lisboa, the Focus Scandinavia Today in NY and the International Brass Conference, to name but a few.
Massons works have recently been presented at the Nordic Music Days in Helsinki, the Dark Music Days in Reykjavik and two of his works have been nominated for the ARD Competition in Germany later this year. The eminent critic Mats Liljeroos of the Huvudstadbladet in Helsinki lately called Masson, “one of the most eminent living composers of the Nordic countries”.
The CD has already received very good reviews in the Italian music magazine Percosi Musicali. Listed below are excerpts from the criticism translated to English by Askell Masson , but the article in its entirety can be found here:
More information on Áskell Másson can be found on his website: http://askellmasson.com/
Company: Percorsi Musicali
Music critic: Ettore Garzia
Percorsi Musicali deals with all types of music with a preference towards contemporary music and jazz improvisation and it is an official reviewer for Naxos Records.
Below are excepts from the article in Italian, translated to English:
“Masson is a distinctive composer who uses some general principles of atonality and dodecaphony which he fuses with Icelandic folklore structures, engendering a unique sound, with powerful evocative passages created by the instruments”.
“The compositions of Masson are strong examples of academic equivocality, (on the disc, we have);
“Elja” (inspired by a well known Icelandic folk poem),
“Ymni” (bucolic composition with vocal fragment of a text by the Icelandic poet Gunnar Gunnarsson),