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Album Review

While Sven Helbig's Pocket Symphonies is presented by Deutsche Grammophon as a collection of lavishly produced songs in symphonic guise, the style has more in common with adult contemporary or easy listening categories than with classical music. Despite the appearance of Kristjan Järvi, the MDR Leipzig Radio Symphony, and the Fauré Quartet, who bring ample talent and commitment to the proceedings, the album actually consists of lush and occasionally lively instrumentals that no one would mistake for western symphonic music, except for the use of an orchestra. Helbig can't even be described accurately as a crossover artist, because he neither plays with traditional forms nor takes off from classical ideas, but is already firmly set in the sphere of modern studio music. His tracks are arranged to perfection and filled with plaintive melodies, gorgeous sonorities, and rich harmonies, but they offer nothing that suggests symphonic contrasts, modulations, or development. This is no discredit to Helbig, who composes his miniatures with professional skill and presents his themes in digestible pieces, from two to five minutes in length. The dominant mood of the album is introspective and melancholy, with some bursts of activity along the way, and Helbig's titles suggest an autumnal resignation and sentimentality that at times evoke the Romantic composers of short character pieces. This album is sure to appeal to casual listeners who like pretty instrumental music in the vein of Karl Jenkins or Ludovico Einaudi, though it is unlikely to draw in serious classical fans., Rovi

Customer Reviews


Beautiful, arresting, uplifting and rewarding. Am Abend takes me on a journey like no other music ever has. This album is never off my playlist.

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