Magazine article Gramophone

'Nordsending'

Magazine article Gramophone

'Nordsending'

Article excerpt

'Nordsending'

Hellstenius Rift Nergard Babette's Feast--Pastorale. Strings. Tjampuan Saariaho Cloud Trio Serensen Condole

Trio Arlstos

BIS (F) BIS2269 (79' * DDD)

Cellist Jakob Kullberg's immersion in the works of Per Norgard has seen him enlist his trio colleagues for this assembly of scores for two and three strings. The line-up, heavy on Norgard, throws a rather unforgiving spotlight on those composers who don't approach their craft so rigorously.

Problems first. Yes, texture can push music forward as much as rhythm, harmony, shape, tension, stasis (paradoxically), etc. But every time an instrument seizes the top line in Kaija Saariaho's Cloud Trio before diffusing into disintegrating shimmering or scraping, I am left bored and frustrated with the suspicion that the composer is too. And I smell a rat with the adoption of a wholly different voice for the trio's second movement. In Henrik Hellstenius's Rift, the cascades of downward scales are alluring but not fertile enough for the improvisation Hellstenius calls for. The piece winds up up chasing its tail, sounding a little like Saariaho.

Bent Sorensen's Condole sounds exactly like Bent Sorensen and that's just fine; there is some exquisite playing from Trio Aristos in the elusive, smoke-like harmonies and half-hidden melody (one of Sorensen's favourites) of 'Gondola in Dreams', and Kullberg's falsetto singing is almost ghostly. Not a note is wasted; Sorensen's counterpoint is delicate but full of hard work. …

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