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Golden Age singers

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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

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Alf HAMBE
Till undrans land - Dance, my song, in the wind

Arrangements by Martin BAGGE

Songs: Då fåglarna spelade; Visa i Molom; Vragavisa; Vad viskar den vadrande vinden; Mellan regn och sol; Oktobervisa; Gröne griven; Kajsas udde; Här är den vita staden; Standkväde; Trädet; Glöm-Ström II; Odysseus; Himlasprång; Glöm-Ström I; Ros i sno; Blåaltaberg och Molomstrand; Din vackraste visa.
Alf Hambe (singer)
Hvitfeldtska Musikgymnasiet
Brunnsbro Musikklasser, Göteborg
Mölndals Vokalensemble
Martin Bagge (director)
rec. 1999-2000, Sweden. DDD
PROPRIUS PRCD 2006 [65.24]

 

How to place this music. It is not conventionally classical. It certainly is not avant-garde although it has its Ligetian gurglings and complexity in Glöm Ström II. It breathes the air of folk song but has a professional sheen. There is occasionally a Breton-Celtic curve to the melodies and treatment. The currency of the songs is love, innocence and landscape. Impressions flood in: Pete Seeger, Johnny Dankworth, Rita Connolly, Peter, Paul and Mary, Jake Thackray, Stanford's Bluebird, Swingle II ... The music carries contentment with a tinge of melancholy, sleepy and lively. Hambe (who looks to have been in his late fifties when this CD was issued in 2000) is the vocalist, not professional singer, in all but one of the tracks. His style is that of sincere troubadour and the flavour of his voice is fresh but with a hint of blue smoke and rough grain in the larynx accentuated by close microphone configuration. He is knowing but not worldweary - not a Brel or Brassens. He is not afraid of singing unaccompanied as in Här är den vita staden. The songs are sung by the composer and by various choirs of adults and of children. When the choirs participate they sing in unison. This is presumably down to Martin Bagge's decisions with Hambe. Unison is abandoned in the haunting complexities of Trädet. Hambe occasionally kicks over the folkish traces as in the calypso of Himlasprång. Jazz also plays a part as it does in the choral writing of fellow Swedes Lindberg and Johanson. It is at its most prominent in the Johnny Dankworth style of Mellan regn och sol. Hambe’s writing sometimes overlaps with that of the late Carey Blyton and Geoffrey Bush in music for young people. Indeed one of the earliest and most successful practitioners, Joseph Horowitz, wrote Captain Noah and His Floating Zoo with music sometimes not far distant from that of Hambe. The instrumental ensemble is used with restraint, touching in colours and tones rather than painting in broad swathes. The guitar is a common presence but listen also for the harp contributing to the simple innocence of the carol Ros i sno (tr.16).

The notes and words are in Swedish only as is the case with Proprius CDs. There is however an introductory essay in English on Hambe from William Jewson.

Hambe the troubadour with his freshly blooming folk-based music deserves a stage well beyond his native Sweden. This CD should help secure that but requires persistence from non-Swedish speakers.

Rob Barnett

 



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