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Camilla SÖDERBERG (b. 1953)
Endless Games
Salopp [10.13]
In Der Nacht [11.58]
Possession [12.08]
Spa in Heaven [16.25]
An Endless Game? [10.04]
Born to Loneliness [10.36]
Johannes Thorell (saxophone)
Magnus Sköld (piano)
Sverrir Guðjónsson (voice)
Camilla Söderberg (tenor recorder)
rec. IAC Malmö, composer’s studio, Malmö, June 2007
DB PRODUCTIONS DBCD181 [71.24]

Camilla Söderberg is an interesting composer among exponents of electronic music. Although she was born in Sweden, and is now resident in Malmö, she grew up in Austria and studied there, entering the Vienna Conservatory as a 12-year-old, playing recorder, as on this CD. She has been involved in the early music movement, working with the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland. From 1980 – 2003, she lived and worked in Iceland, and it is perhaps not fanciful to hear echoes of Icelandic composers such as Jón Leifs in her music.

But there is nothing of early music here. For the last decade or so, Söderberg has specialized in electronic music: this CD provides some striking examples. She studied with Kent Olofsson, from 2003. He was very involved in the technical production of this CD and his own music can be heard on dbCD178.
 
An important part of this music is the use of fragmented voices. While Sverrir Guðjónsson is the main speaker (usually in English), other bits are read by Fredrick Emmerfors, Agnethe Christensen and the composer. The second piece, In der Nacht, sets a poem by the Austrian Klaus Flemmich, read by Gunda König. It has a simple power, not least because of the plainness of the recitation, matched by an arch – a natural crescendo – in the music. Salopp is an interesting instance of the eclectic character of the pieces here. Words are fragments of recipes – though not in such detail that I shall attempt them – but what is interesting is how the different timbres of voice have a hypnotic and rhythmic quality. Spa in Heaven uses scraps from Whitman, Spenser and Vachel Lindsay.

If pieces have anything in common, it is in the taking of fragments and reintegrating them into a greater whole. Each piece has its own character – perhaps most impressive to me was the 2007 piece, Born to Loneliness, for recorder and electroacoustic sounds.

Söderberg has an interesting voice and this is well-served by admirable and wonderfully clear recording, which makes for an excellent recording, making fine use of the opportunities offered by stereophony.

For anyone new to electronic music, this CD would be a good place to start – pieces combine a modern idiom with striking material.

Michael Wilkinson

 

 



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