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Trio con Forza – Hot3
Anders HULTQVIST (b. 1955)

Rain and After/Composition No. 6 (2002)
Kay HOLMQUIST (b. 1960)

Crepuscular Radiation for Flute, Viola and 10-stringed Guitar (2002-03)
Rolf MARTINSSON (b. 1956)

Tics (1997)
André CHINI (b. 1945)

Eté3 (1998)
Arne MELLNÄS (1933-2002)

Like Raindrops, Pearls on Velvet (1997)
Christer LINDWALL (b. 1950)

Wire (1995)
Fredrik ÖSTERLING (b. 1966)

Nine – The Esoteric Charm of Austerity (2000)
Kent OLOFSSON (b. 1962)

Parceas Cordes for alto flute, alto guitar, viola and electronics (2001-02)
HOT3 (Torbjörn Helander (viola) Stefan Östersjö (guitar) and Terje Thiwång (flutes))
Recorded in Malmö and Stockholm in 2002-03 except the Lindwall, recorded in 1999

Whenever Philip Larkin, in his role as a critic, came up against a critically immovable jazz object, such as the latest free form racket from spaced-out sax men, he habitually employed the word "challenging" to describe the result. There were times, it’s true, when the word came to my mind, as the sawing, thwacking, and chundering sonorities produced by HOT3 activated thoughts best described as hostile. But that would be to underestimate the range and reach of some of these works and the inventive and imaginative juxtapositions of instrumental sounds involved.

That said I’m afraid I can’t reconcile myself to Anders Hultqvist’s Rain and After/Composition No. 6, written in 2002. Though the plasticity of the flute works well as a contrastive device against the imposingly violent thwacking of the opening (it is remarkable how big a sound this trio can produce) I’m afraid the result was too vituperative for me. I liked the glint and flutter of Kay Holmquist’s Crepuscular Radiation for Flute, Viola and 10-stringed Guitar and the notes do actually tell us what the title means (it’s a phenomenon of the light after sundown, should you want to get your binoculars out). In the notes each piece is prefaced by a poetic paragraph. I had high hopes for Rolf Martinsson, whose Tics sounded a promising title. The flute writing is high lying, the guitar chords or plays single string scurries and the viola remains withdrawn. The work then shifts slightly on its axis becoming slow and refractive. No idea why it’s called Tics.

André Chini’s Eté3 takes as its theme the idea of three stages of an experience; wish, reality and memory. Chini is French so he’s doubtless been musing about these ideas since he lay in the crib but his ten-minute piece is altogether a superior one. Reflective, colouristic, pensive with more abrasive material used as highlighting sections and not, as frequently elsewhere on this disc as a means in itself, this is consistently the most impressive work here. It has power of concision and breadth of imagination and it’s a work that demands and deserves wider hearing. Arne Mellnäs’ Like Raindrops, Pearls on Velvet has a still, rather eerie feel to it and is suffused with subtle colour and a sense of time. Lindwall’s Wire is one of the few that explicitly balances fractious playfulness with plenty of opportunities for moments of discord and stasis – well judged ones. Fredrik Österling’s Nine – The Esoteric Charm of Austerity (great title, sounds like a Bruñuel) is initially stern – or is it austere? – but gradually contains itself despite some active things going on. The effect is rather compelling and hypnotic, though this has nothing to do with minimalist hypnotism (which is called falling asleep). Finally there is the longest work on the disc, Olofsson’s Parceas Cordes. There’s a welcome sense of continuum here, from the slow introduction and the Allegro-type scurry; intriguing sonorities co-exist with bell chimes and sustained chords. There is here a sense of journeying – and of arrival.

So in the end most of the challenges proved fruitful if not always very likeable. At least two of these works however are strongly persuasive ones and thanks to the Trio con forza they have gained almost immediate discographic currency.

Jonathan Woolf

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