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Image Uma Elmo
With Uma Elmo, his fifth album as a leader for ECM, Danish guitarist Jakob Bro presents a new trio featuring Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen and Spanish drummer Jorge Rossy. Astonishingly, given the trio’s musical synergy, the first time these three musicians ever performed together was for the album’s sessions at the Swiss Radio studio in Lugano, with ECM founder Manfred Eicher producing. Uma Elmo reaffirms the observation about Bro’s work by London Jazz News that “there is no hurry to this music, but there is great depth.” Among the album’s highlights is opener “Reconstructing a Dream,” a darkly lyrical reverie. “To Stanko” is Bro’s hushed tribute to the late, great Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, who featured the guitarist in his quintet for the ECM album Dark Eyes. Another homage to a late elder is “Music for Black Pigeons,” which was given its evocative title by saxophone sage Lee Konitz. Listeners will recognize Henriksen’s whispering, poetic sound from his 2008 ECM album Cartography, as well as his collaborations for the label with Trio Mediaeval and Tigran Hamasyan. Rossy is well known to jazz fans on both sides of the Atlantic, particularly for his decade-plus tenure in Brad Mehldau’s career-making first trio. As for the leader, DownBeat aptly noted in its review of his previous ECM album, Bay of Rainbows, that “Bro’s guitar is luminous… his music both hypnotic and dramatic.”

kr 169
Image Nordic Choral Music - Sweden, Norway, Finland, Den
Sagas, myths, vast realms. Snow-capped mountains, dark forests and an overarching stillness and peace. The cultures of Scandinavia have always exerted a huge fascination over people. Scandinavian music is often purported to possess a mystical and “typically Nordic” sound, and even if such a causal association cannot be applied in too much of a sweeping generalization, there are nevertheless frequently recurring characteristics: in particular, in the post-war generation there developed in Scandinavian choral music a strong orientation towards folk music and folk songs; choral singing became a significant medium of expression in middle-class music circles. The important relationship between human beings and Nature – as a result of the strong influence in Scandinavia of the changing seasons on people’s everyday lives – along with fundamental questions about life and death were ever-present topics in those countries’ choral music. Using modern-day musical resources, many works emerged in vernacular style and the boundaries between the art song and the folk song became blurred. Contemporary trends developed swiftly, the human voice was deployed in far more diverse ways than ever before: speaking, screaming, clucking, whistling and so on all took on equal weight within Scandinavian choral music together with improvisation and the use of empty syllables. Novel sounds and unusual scores were soon setting the tone and new standards on the Scandinavian choral scene began leading to a continual professionalisation that was to make waves across all of Europe.

kr 169
Image Verklärte Nacht - Schoenberg, Fried, Lehár, & Korn
Hot on the heels of their acclaimed recording of Britten’s Peter Grimes, Stuart Skelton and Edward Gardner join forces with Christine Rice and the BBC Symphony Orchestra for this fascinating programme of early twentieth-century works. Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht needs no introduction, but far rarer is Oscar Fried’s contemporaneous setting of the same poem. Composed in 1901 for soloists and orchestra, Fried’s version is a true setting of (as opposed to Schoenberg’s reflection on) the text by Richard Dehmel. Lehár wrote Fieber in 1915 as the closing part of his song cycle Aus eiserner Zeit – he then made the orchestral setting a year later. Korngold’s Lieder des Abschieds (Songs of Farewell) date from the early 1920s, whilst he was still in Vienna, and shortly after he had completed the opera Die tote Stadt. Setting poetry by Christina Rossetti, Edith Ronsperger, and Ernst Lothar, the cycle is a poignant reflection on the Great War.

kr 169
Image Piano Music
Grigory Krein (1879–1955), a member of an astonishing dynasty of Russian-Jewish musician-composers, was recognized by his contemporaries as one of the major composers of his day. His piano music charts a stylistic evolution from the early influence of Grieg, Reger (with whom he studied) and Debussy towards a more complex and chromatic language with harmonies that synthesize the sound-worlds of Skryabin and Szymanowski; there’s also an echo of the rhapsodic Celtic wildness of Bax. Indeed, all of these pieces are informed by a remarkable sense of energy – latent in some and given its head in others.

kr 159
Image Chamber Music
Geraldine Mucha learned to read music before words; her Scottish father, Marcus Thomson, taught at the Royal Academy of Music. Having turned 18 she became a student there herself, and at a party in 1941 she met her future husband, Jan Mucha, an exiled Czech war correspondent and son of the artist Alphonse Mucha. They settled in his home city of Prague at the end of the war, but Geraldine fled the Communist regime for Scotland after the invasion of Prague in 1968, and returned only after the fall of Communism in 1989. Jirí died in 1991 but Geraldine lived on until 2012, leaving a fair-sized body of instrumental music which had been performed throughout her lifetime but is only now being rediscovered. Only one other album of Mucha’s work is available, dedicated to her orchestral music. This newly available album, made in Prague in 2015, begins with the First String Quartet which she wrote in 1944 as a recent RAM graduate: a tight, well-argued work, inflected by the fiercely rhythmic folk idiom of Janácek and Bartók. There follows a collection of seven piano works including her most extensive piece for the instrument, a set of variations on an ‘Old Scottish Song’ which also shows a thorough command of a central-European idiom. The single-movement Second String Quartet dates from 1970 opens with a keening, Scottish-accented lament: taut and concise, both concealing and saying much in a short span. The Wind Quintet is a late work, from 1998, still elegiac in mood but now balanced by the kind of dance-like flow and momentum placing it in the tradition of wind-ensemble works from Mozart to Poulenc. This carefully programmed album ends with the Epitaph for oboe and string quintet which she composed in 1991 in memory of her late husband.

kr 89
Image Concerto per Flauto
Giovanni Antonini, virtuoso flautist and orchestral conductor, is the founder of the Italian ensemble Il Giardino Armonico, which burst on the baroque musical scene in 1985; together they have amassed an impressive discography. Partnered by Alpha Classics, they have launched a complete recording of the 107 symphonies by Joseph HAYDN, in anticipation of the 300th anniversary of his birth in 2032. Il Giardino Armonico is celebrating a composer with whose music he made his name: Antonio VIVALDI. With Antonini as soloist in a programme of his own devising recorded between 2011 and 2017, a generous bouquet of the Concerti per Flauto: RV 433 (‘La Tempesta di Mare’), plus the Concertos RV 441, 442 443, 444, and 445, and an amazing version of ‘Cum Dederit’, a solo from Nisi Dominus RV 608, for the chalumeau, the predecessor to the modern-day clarinet.

kr 169
Image Complete Keyboard Sonatas, Vol. 24
Domenico Scarlatti is best remembered for the hundreds of single-movement keyboard sonatas he composed for his pupil the Infanta Maria Bárbara, who married the heir to the Spanish throne in 1728, taking her music master with her from Lisbon to Madrid. Scarlatti’s panache and inventiveness is always on show in these compact sonatas, their delicacy and refinement hiding some surprising explorations of unexpected keys, and technical demands such as hand-crossing and chains of sixths and thirds that would have posed some interesting challenges to his clearly talented pupil. Alon Goldsteinis one of the most original and sensitive pianists of his generation. His discography includes Mozart’s Piano Concertos with the Fine Arts Quartet and Dvorák’s Piano Trios with the Tempest Trio and Mendelssohn’s Piano Concertos with the Israel Chamber Orchestra. A passionate advocate of music education, recent teaching engagements have included the Steans Institute at Ravinia Festival, The Gilmore Keyboard Festival, and Ensemble Connect (formerly Ensemble ACJW) at Carnegie Hall. Goldstein has performed at prestigious venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, the Moscow Kremlin, Hollywood Bowl and the Southbank Centre. In 2019 he was inducted into the Society of Scholars of his alma mater, the Johns Hopkins University.

kr 89
Image Music for Wind Band, Vol. 20
John Philip Sousa personified turn-of-the-century America –the comparative innocence and brash energy of an advancing nation. His ever-touring band represented America across the globe and brought lively and entertaining music to hundreds of American towns. Sousa’s name is eternally connected with famous marches such as The Stars and Stripes Forever, but his exceptional inventiveness also saw the creation of popular operettas such as El Capitan. This program also includes Sousa’s adaptations of humorous songs and popular ballads as well as his Good-Bye, based on the idea of Haydn’s ‘Farewell’ Symphony but with a modern twist.

kr 89
Image Orchestral Music, Vol. 1
Alexander Brincken, born in Leningrad in 1952 and Swiss-based since 1992, writes in an accessible and unashamedly late-Romantic language. His grandiose Fourth Symphony of 2014–15, written for a huge orchestra, has echoes of a number of earlier composers, among them Berlioz, Bruckner, Martinu, Wagner and, especially, Franz Schmidt and Richard Strauss, all assimilated into a big-hearted style that blends dignity, lyricism and power, with a strong sense of the Swiss landscapes in which he has made his home. The earlier Capriccio for piano and orchestra – a concerto in all but name – has, in turn, something of the sober strength and wiry energy of Frank Martin – curiously, since it was written seven years before Brincken moved to Switzerland. Rainer Held’s recent Sutermeister recording for Toccata Classics was a revelation, and here’s proof that he has not yet run out of symphonic surprises.

kr 159
Image Motets
There’s an incomparable alacrity, an uncanny sense of committed urgency that supercedes the effort by the otherwise gorgeous St. Jacobs Choir." - ClassicsToday.com

5/5 i DN

"Ingen religion har haft ett så svårartat förhållande till dans som kristendomen. Något som under medeltiden tog sig uttryck i ett dansförbud som sträckt sig ända in i modern tid. Som i Sverige på 1900-talet, när man gick så långt inom frikyrkan att man lade in lutande golv i sina samlingslokaler för att förhindra dans. Men dansen som drevs ut ur kyrkorna levde kvar i själva musiken. En kyrkomusik som hämtade all sin rytmiska vitalitet från dansen och som utvecklade den i sin egen sfär. I S:t Jacobs kammarkörs och Rebaroques inspelning av J?S Bachs motetter, under ledning av Gary Graden, slås man först av den närmast euforiskt lätta svikten. Detta i en musik som handlar om döden, om att stå helt utan fruktan och bara överlämna sig. Men även fraseringen, det utsökta samspelet mellan kören och orkestern, är av det slaget att man liksom träffas rätt i hjärtat. Blir kallad, även om man kanske inte hör till de kallade: "Skaka värld och darra; Jag står här fullkomligt lugn. Och sjunger." Helt underbart!"
(Dagens Nyheter)

St Jacob's Chamber Choir
Gary Graden, conductor

"This recording is the result of many years of rewarding collaboration between Maria Lindal's REbaroque ensemble and the St Jacobs Chamber Choir. Together we have performed several works of Bach, Handel, Mozart and Haydn in the s:t Jacobs church. For our first joint recording we have chosen to perform all of bach's motets; a collection of strikingly dance-like, varied and virtuosic works for choir and instrumental ensemble. Our first shared encounter with these seminal works of the choral repertoire was a profound experience and now, ten years later, we have renewed our acquaintance with this great music. We found in these works, in which instruments and voices share the same parts, the optimal fusion of voice, words, articulation, song, instrument, timbre and colour. With every tone, the instrumentalists perform a text- a vowel, a consonant, a poem - while the singers articulate every line of the text in unison with their instrumental partners. The works provided us with a material for study and, ultimately, led to a satisfying union of choir and orchestra, voices and instruments. With the motets as a foundation we look forward to our continued collaboration and future recordings with St Jacobs Chamber Choir and REbaroque".

(Gary Graden)

kr 104 (kr 149)
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