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Kent OLOFSSON (b. 1962)
Champs D’étoiles
Lipparella (Mikael Bellini (countertenor), Kerstin Frödin (recorders), Anna Lindal (baroque violin), Louise Agnani (viola da gamba), Peter Söderberg (theorbo))
rec. Grödinge Kyrka, Grödinge, Sweden, year not given

Kent Olofsson has had an interesting career, and is perhaps best known for his work in electroacoustic music. Much of his output has been for the theatre, and he is a significant contributor to Teatr Weimar, a Swedish company. Certainly the music here demonstrates a theatrical sense.

Champs d’Étoiles is a connected suite, based on a series of literary texts and representing the theme of life as pilgrimage within a wider sense of timelessness. Themes of unfolding, landscape, but also memory and fragility, are present. Texts comprise accounts of a vision at Fatima, to poems of Rilke, Dag Hammarskjöld and Rimbaud. It is good for non-Swedish readers to be reminded of the extraordinary insights of Dag Hammarskjöld’s only book, Vägmärken (‘Waymarks’), the diary of his spiritual journey, published after his death in the Congo – it is a masterpiece. Texts are included in the booklet in both original languages and English.

The instrumental arrangements are interesting. Olofsson has an interest in, and has worked with, early instruments – Lipparella is an early music group, so the composer is able to draw on their sounds, often using just a single instrument as the basis of a movement. An example is Éclat/Appel for unadorned tenor recorder. The instrument works in isolation, surrounded by stillness. The idiom is unashamedly modern and atonal – the music generally has a harder edge than with Olofsson’s pupil, Camilla Söderberg (dbCD181), but the variety of sound is interesting.

The sound range is extraordinary at times. In the interlude Pulsar steps, the electronic sounds begin almost inaudibly, like a distant radio signal (Olofsson’s inspiration was the first radio signal from space). Then emerge the sounds of footsteps, walking hither and there (the stereophonic effect is most striking), before fading back into the sound of the radio signal.

For lovers of the possibilities of different sound worlds, this will be a valuable and rewarding release.

Michael Wilkinson

Track Listing
Part I
Vocations 1 [1.40]
Des Someers Wochen standen still – Rilke Trio 1 [3.40]
Prelude to Silence [3.17]
Éclat/Appel [1.26]
Our Lady showed us sea of fire – A Secret Apparition 1 [4.36]
Chemin de silence I [3.13]
Interlude I: Pulsar Steps [2.30]
Part II
Vocations IV [4.07]
Single Form [3.35]
A une raison [3.12]
Fleur [6.32]
Éclat/Appel [1.39]
You Have seen Hell – A Secret Apparition II [3.40]
Quartet [2.56]
Interlude II: Pulsar Dance [2.27]
Part III
Vocations VII [1.40]
Und höher, die Sterne – Rilke Trio II [6.59]
Chemin de silence III [2.55]
Day [1.52]
Our Lady above, an angel – A Secret Apparition III [10.05]



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