Magazine article Gramophone

Frandsen: Lystens Liturgi

Magazine article Gramophone

Frandsen: Lystens Liturgi

Article excerpt


Lystens liturgi (a). Winternachte (b). Songs of Innocence (c). Songs of Experience (d), rummet, hvor jeg engang boede (e). Seven Silly Songs (f) (ad) Lise Davldsen, (c) Liv Oddvelg Midtmageli sops (bf) Morten Grove Frandsen counterten (e) Alexander Nohr bar (ae) Sofia Wilkman, (b) Orsi Fajger pf (cdf) Jesper Si vebaek gtr Dacapo (F) 8 226582 (74' * DDD * T/t)


Musical polymath John Frandsen has notched up seven operas and a recent long-form Requiem, 'an eloquent statement' for Malcolm Riley (11/14). Not for Frandsen the 'gravy and grease' referred to by Carl Nielsen; these songs are notably direct in expression, even if Frandsen's wild forms often belie a harmonic language rooted in tradition.

That makes for a very Scandinavian seduction in The Liturgy of Desire. Frandsen's accompaniments, on both piano and guitar, can be fascinatingly contrary as in 'Knarren eines geknickten Astes' from the Hesse settings Winternachte, a sign of how he does things his own way. Nor does he toe any lines when it comes to what we might think of as naturally 'vocal'; his writing is full of odd leaps and angles.

For all Frandsen's elfin character, the most effective songs here have someone or something else in the corner of their eye: I hear the quasi-Elizabethan geometry of Britten's Gloriaria in 'The Echoing Green' and a shapely nursery rhyme in 'The Lamb'--both from the Blake settings Songs of Innocence. …

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