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World Music CD Reviews Europe

Vasen

By John Kuhlman
Published January 16, 2008

Linnaeus Vasen
North Side

It seems that Carl Linnaeus is so well known in his native Sweden that the liner notes to this album skip over biographical details and go straight to how skilled a dancer the great botanist was. Beyond his fondness for the polska, though, it seems music simply didn’t play a very large part in the man’s life, making this project—a collection of music gathered as part of the tri-centennial celebration of his birth—somewhat problematic from the start. Thankfully, the talented Swedish quartet Vasen manage to put together an impressive collection of period pieces. And though direct connections to Linnaeus are fairly tenuous for the most part (works composed, for instance, by his brother-in-law and great-uncle), the band tear through the 18th century dances on display here with a wonderful grace and energy, breathing new life into the same music that Linnaeus himself may have danced to centuries ago.