One of the most grown-up review sites around

2020
53,992 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


 
Founder: Len Mullenger                                     Editor in Chief: John Quinn              

Some items
to consider


Chopin Edition 17CDs
now available separately
£11 post-free anywhere


TROUBADISC

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


 

Recordings of the Month

September


Opera transcriptions & fantasias


TAKEMITSU MESSIAEN


Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets


Schubert Symphony 9

August


Jean-Baptiste LEMOYNE


Enescu Ravel Britten


Debussy Images etc.


53 Studies on Chopin Études 1
Konstantin Scherbakov (piano)

 

 

 

 

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Ketil HVOSLEF (b. 1939)
Chamber Works VII
Trio for Soprano, Alto and piano (1974) [14:17]
String Quartet No. 3 (1998) [21:16]
Sextet for Flute and Percussion (1986–1989) [18:20]
rec. 2018/19, Gunnar Sævigs Sal, Griegakademiet, Bergen, Norway
LAWO CLASSICS LWC1200 [53:56]

In all my reviews of the complete recording of Ketil Hvoslef’s chamber music I have expressed the longing to hear his works for string quartet and here, in volume seven of nine, we at last have the chance to listen to his Strykekvartett nr. III, which is often regarded as his finest, and it was well worth the wait. The third work on this disc, his Sekstett for fløyte og slagverk, is also regarded as being among his finest chamber works.

The first work on this disc is the earliest. It is a fourteen-minute single movement and is not, as some online retailers have described it, a Trio for Soprano, Viola and Piano, but for Soprano, Alto and Piano. The two female vocalists, soprano Mari Galambos Grue and alto Anne Daugstad Wik, are both students at the Grieg Academy and have the ability, along with the pianist Einar Røttingen, to make this music to sound different and exciting.

The work begins ethereally with the piano shimmering into view, followed by the two female voices who, in what in essence is a vocalise, sing not only their notes but also random syllables such as ta, pa, do and ma along with isolated vowels, which are recognisable sounds giving the work more depth. The music wends its way through different vocal and pianistic colours, with jazz-like sections complementing more lyrical sections. An unusual combination, it does, however, work very well, with the soprano and alto both contrasting well and producing a unison sound. This is sometimes pitted against the piano, which shifts from a merely supportive role to that of a dominant position. This is a well-constructed work which opens new horizons for the listener.

The longest and also the most recent work on this disc, the String Quartet No. 3, was commissioned and premiered by the Oslo String Quartet in 1988 and shows the composer’s view of “regarding similar instruments as unified groups.” There is no doubt that the work is challenging, but it is all the more interesting for that fact. The players of the quartet are called upon to produce various sounds through their playing the vast array of tonal colours and effects that the four instruments can produce, with some of the results being quite remarkable. Beginning with three loud, spaced-out chords with some hardly audible playing in between, Hvoslef nails his intentions to the mast from the outset. Strong, bold and sometimes frenzied playing follows with the occasional violent outburst adding to the tension of the work; there are even times that the playing sounds like a siren. This might sound strange and unpalatable, but it works. This is a colourful and rhythmically interesting work which challenges the perceived range of the genre of the string quartet. I look forward to his other string quartets; nos. 1 and 4 will appear on the next disc and the Second Quartet, in which one of the violins is replaced with a Hardanger fiddle, will feature on the final disc in the series.

The final work on the disc is again composed for a strange array of instruments: a flute and five percussionists - I know of no other work for such an ensemble. The Sextet for Flute and Percussion was commissioned by the percussion ensemble Kroumata and the Brazilian flautist Manuela Wiesler, who together gave the premier of the Sextet in Stockholm in 1986. Hvoslef’s booklet note explains that the music touches on elements from “foreign” musical cultures, the impetus, without being biographical, being the travels of Manuela Wiesler. The result is again very interesting, with examples of various styles built upon by Hvoslef, who rather than slavishly parroting the styles, uses their essence to build up his own reflections. There are throughout the piece some remarkable examples of breath control by the flautist Eivind Sandgrind who sustains some very long notes such that on occasion her tone sounds electronically produced. The percussion ensemble creates such a varied and rewarding array of timbres through the vast array of instruments available to them, producing some remarkable sounds and percussive colours which blend well with the flute.

This is one of the most rewarding of the seven volumes released so far. The three works illustrate differing aspects of Ketil Hvoslef’s wonderful chamber music in performances which deserve to be celebrated for their insight and nuanced interpretations. The recorded sound is, as with the rest of the series, excellent and detailed, as are the booklet notes, with Hvoslef’s incisive input being of great help to the listener. This is a highly recommendable disc which, despite its challenging aspects, is approachable and enjoyable.

Stuart Sillitoe


Performers 
Mari Galambos Grue (soprano)
Anne Daugstad Wik (alto)
Einar Røttingen (piano)
Ricardo Odriozola (violin)
Mara Haugen (violin)
Ingrid Rugesæter (viola)
Ragnhild Sannes (cello)
Eivind Sandgrind (flute)
Craig Farr (percussion)
Sigvald Fersum (percussion)
Gard Garshol (percussion)
Mathias Matland (percussion)
Ola Berg Riser (percussion)
Ricardo Odriozola (director)



Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage



Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger