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Fragile Phrases
Duo Dēlinquō
No recording dates or venues given
PROPRIUS PRCD2083 [55:29]

Duo Dēlinquō is made up of Peter Fridholm, flute, and David Härenstam, guitar. I have previously reviewed several discs with Härenstam in various constellations and also as solo guitarist. Duo Dēlinquō gave their first concert at the Northern Light Festival in Tromsø in Norway in February 2011, when they among other things played Stefan Klaverdal’s I heard a sound/The sound I heard – the last composition on the present disc. All the music here was written for Duo Dēlinquō, and Staffan Storm’s Memories of Raivola, based on an essay by Ragna Ljungdell, Diktarmodern i Raivola, about the Finnish-Swedish poet Edith Södergran, was also written for actor Stina Ekblad who read excerpts from the essay between the movements at performances. They are printed in the enclosed booklet.
The text for the first movement, Raivola, describes a wet and cold October morning, but rays of sun are peeping through the clouds and racemes of rowanberries are like flames. Maybe it’s those spots of colour in the greyish landscape that inspires Storm to write so beautiful, serenade-like music. The second movement, The October sky, is more autumnal and melancholy, maybe because Edith Södergran’s tomb can be seen in the nearby churchyard. There are some dramatic outbursts from the guitar. The autumn winds? Firelight and the northern light is highly atmospheric in the third movement while the final movement, The portent in the sky, is intense, hurried, the guitar is employed as a percussion instrument, illustrating the thumping of the train running, which is described in the text. This is highly evocative music. Definitely a work to return to.

Max Käck’s Four fragile phrases is self-descriptive. It is fragile music. It really doesn’t want to make itself heard to begin with. It hesitates, pauses, the silences sharpens the listener’s ear, the notes fall in drops. The flute sings, trills – silence – a new cantilena – a muffled guitar chord. This music wants to escape from itself.

Leon is the name of Anna-Lena Laurin’s son. The three movements are nicely contrasted. In the Andante I hear birdsong, a newly arrived migratory bird testing his capacity? Certainly beautiful, tonal and virtuoso music, full of joy and rhythmic with a ticking accompaniment. The Largo has a long guitar intro, fragile to begin with, the flute enters with a lyrical melody in the lower register. The mood is contemplative. The Con moto finale is an entertaining scherzo with some percussion imitations. Highly attractive and a good starting point for listeners with little experience of contemporary music.

About the most recent composition, Ylva Fred’s Three parentheses, flautist Peter Fridholm says: ‘I met Ylva for the first time when she was in our home and played with my daughter Amanda. She was then around ten. They were classmates. It is fantastic to record a work by her 19 years later.’ It is a short work in three movements with descriptive titles. The outer movements are rather melancholy, the middle movement is relaxed and beautiful – a kind of meditation.

Eberhard Eyser, a former member of the Hovkapellet, i. e. the orchestra of the Royal Swedish Opera, is a prolific composer, employing the twelve-tone technique, which automatically makes him a ‘difficult’ composer. His technique is however quite different from Schönberg’s and his New Vienna School. David Härenstam has recorded several works by Eyser before, including the quite extensive Racconti (review). Small fancies is much more concentrated, three short movements marked Andante Sostenuto. They are relaxed and attractive.

Stefan Klaverdal’s I heard a sound/The sound I heard was, as I mentioned at the beginning of the review, part of Duo Dēlinquō’s very first concert back in 2011. The two parts are strongly contrasted. I heard a sound is slow, tonal, melodious immobile, while The sound I heard is extremely full of life, motion, rhythms and sounds. The attacca opening is somewhat fragmentary but sounds are added and the composition gains momentum. It kind of grows in all directions and the sound is electronically manipulated, exactly hoe is not mentioned in the sparse comments. Listening with headphones the stereophonic landscape became quite bewildering – but truly fascinating. In the end the calm melody from the first movement returns and this the two movements together. After my first listen I had to return three times before I was satisfied. Quite overwhelming!

This disc, expertly played and recorded, amply proves that there are a lot of thrilling things happening on the contemporary musical scene in Sweden. Congratulations to Peter, David and the Proprius production team for this enjoyable issue.

Göran Forsling

Staffan STORM (b. 1964)
Memories of Raivola (2017):
1. Raivola [3:56]
2. The October sky [4:01]
3. Firelight and the northern light [3:32]
4. The portent in the sky [4:57]
Max KÄCK (b. 1951)
5. Four fragile phrases (2017) [5:08]
Anna-Lena LAURIN (b. 1962)
Leon (2016):
6. Andante [7:06]
7. Largo [3:56]
8. Con moto [4:39]
Ylva FRED (b. 1990)
Three parentheses (2018):
9. The receipt in the bog, Scherzando cantabile [2:14]
10. The cigarette afterwards, Semplicimente affetuoso [1:37]
11. You are disappointed, Rubato misterioso [1:19]
Eberhard EYSER (b. 1932)
Small fancies. Arietta (2014):
12. Andante Sostenuto [1:05]
13. Andante Sostenuto [1:20]
14. Andante Sostenuto [1:03]
Stefan KLAVERDAL (b. 1975)
15. I heard a sound [3:11]
16. The sound I heard [6:20]

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