Sov, Sov, Liten Gut [2:01]
Jaakko MÄNTYJÄRVI (b. 1963)
Die Stimme des Kindes [4:45]
Bansull [2:06]
Per NORGÅRD (b. 1932)
Wie ein Kind I [3:38]
Bia, Bia Lite Ban [3:43]
Per NORGÅRD (b. 1932)
Wie ein Kind II - Frühlings-Lied [7:35]
Bia, Bia Lite Ban [2:23]
Marcus PAUS (b. 1979)
The Stolen Child [10:58]
Bansull fra Telemark [2:28]
Per NORGÅRD (b. 1932)
Wie ein Kind III - Trauermarsch Mit Einem Unglücksfall [2:05]
Bysjan, Bysjan Lite Bån [2:29]
Ensemble 96/Kjetil Almenning
Nidaros String Quartet
rec. January 2010, Uranienborg Church, Norway.
Disc 1: Hybrid SACD, MCH 5.0 DSD, Stereo DSD; Disc 2: Pure Audio Blu-ray: DTS HD MA 192kHz/24 bit 5.0, LPCM 192kHz/24 bit STEREO. mShuttle: FLAC 96kHz + MP3. Region: ABC - worldwide.
2L 2L-076-SABD [44:11]
This set is a recording of Scandinavian music for chamber choir, all dealing with children (“Kind” means “child” in Norwegian). One track, The Stolen Child, is for chamber choir and string quartet. The recording intersperses traditional folk-songs from Norway with more-or-less contemporary compositions by three Nordic composers.
But first, an overview of what the set contains. There are two discs: the first a CD, which is a hybrid SACD. The second is much more complex. It is a Blu-Ray audio disc, which features pretty much every format you’d ever want to listen to. Standard playback offers 5.0 and stereo in 24-bit, 192 kHz format. But if your Blu-Ray player is connected to a network, you can access audio files on the disc in FLAC 24-bit 96 kHz and 192 kHz formats, 320 kbps MP3, and WAV. So, you can listen to the CD in standard or SACD format; you can listen to the Blu-Ray disc in stereo and surround sound; and you can either rip the CD, or copy the files from the Blu-Ray disc, if you so desire, in high-resolution FLAC files, compressed MP3 files, or standard stereo WAV files.
Frankly, all this can get a bit confusing for most listeners who simply want the music. I had no trouble accessing the files from my Blu-Ray player, but there may be many people who cannot do this, and if 2L really wanted to provide easy access to these files, they should probably have included a DVD containing just digital files.
But on to the music. This is a brief, yet profound disc of choral music, which combines, in counterpoint, alternating folk-songs and modern choral works. The music is, at times, joyous, and, at others haunting. Marcus Paus’s The Stolen Child, the only work with the string quartet, and the longest work on the disc, is perhaps the most impressive. In just over ten minutes, it presents a sound-world that is astounding and moving, with hints of medieval Norwegian music. The folk-songs, some of which are different versions of the same songs from different regions of Norway, have that timeless character of fine, traditional folk-music. Jaakko Mäntyjärvi’s Die Stimme des Kindes is a heartbreakingly sweet work. And the three songs by Per Norgård are oddly interesting works.
What stands out most about this recording, however, is the recording itself. In surround-sound, the choir envelops the listener fully in a sphere of sound. Closing my eyes, I could feel myself to be among the choir as they sang. The sound is especially impressive for The Stolen Child, the Paus work for choir and string quartet.
This disc is brief; just over 44 minutes. Would that it were longer...
Kirk McElhearn 

An astoundingly recorded disc of Scandinavian choral music, in CD and Blu-Ray audio.