Last Leaf

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Last Leaf
Danish String Quartet

[ ECM New Series / CD ]

Release Date: Friday 22 September 2017

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They are widely recognised as the most exciting young string quartet of the present moment, bringing new insights to contemporary composition and core classical repertoire. In parallel, they have also made surprising and impressive forays into the world of Nordic folk music. Their 2014 album Wood Works (Dacapo Records) was a left-field hit, and audiences around the world have been delighted by concert performances of the music. Now the Danish String Quartet bring their folk project to ECM with a stirring new recording. Last Leaf took its initial inspiration from an unusual Christmas hymn, "Now found is the fairest of roses", published in 1732 by Danish theologian and poet H.A. Brorson. The hymn is set to a mysterious, dark melody: Brorson had chosen an old Lutheran funeral choral to accompany his Christmas hymn, elegantly showing how life and death are always connected. "From here we embark on a travel through the rich fauna of Nordic folk melodies until returning to Brorson in the end," say the DSQ. "It is a journey that could have been made in many different ways, but we believe that we returned with some nice souvenirs. In these old melodies, we find immense beauty and depth, and we can't help but sing them through the medium of our string quartet. Brorson found the fairest of roses, we found a bunch of amazing tunes - and we hope you will enjoy what we did to them."

"This recording of sublime beauty consists of old hymns, such as Now Found is the Fairest of Roses (1732), and a variety folk songs, all exquisitely set for string quartet. There is admirable craft in the traditional melodies, but what prevails above all is the quintessential ECM aesthetic of sparseness, spaciousness, and precision. The Danish String Quartet is surely one of the most innovative in the business, and they have found an ideal label to pursue this sort of crossover genre." AudAud Best 2017


1 Despair Not, O Heart 1:21
2 Shore 2:50
3 Polska From Dorotea 3:03
4 Tjønneblomen 3:51
5 Minuet No. 60 2:39
6 Æ Rømeser 4:02
7 Intermezzo 1:23
8 Shine You No More 3:38
9 Drømte Mig En Drøm 3:45
10 Stædelil 2:44
11 Naja's Waltz 3:19
12 Unst Boat Song 4:46
13 Fastän 2:43
14 Hur Var Du I Aftes Så Sildig 2:00
15 The Dromer 3:01
16 Now Found Is The Fairest Of Roses

Danish String Quartet - Æ RØMESER (Last Leaf)