Sci vias domini [5:10]
Nu rinder solen opp [3:22]
Abba, hjartans Fader god [2:59]
Nu haver denna dag [4:54]
Andrew SMITH (b. 1970)
Ubi caritas [6:04]
Bysjan, bysjan [3:10]
Skal vi ustridig hist [6:29]
Krist er oppstanden [2:13]
So ro, liten tull [2:18]
Kom, helge Ande [6:13]
Limu lima [3:28]
I hela naturen [5:19]
Pris vare Gud [2:04]
Sinikka LANGELAND (b. 1961)
Lillebrors hjerte [2:04]
Anders JORMIN (b. 1957)
Nattens vingar [2:49]
rec. October 2020 and June 2021, Sofienberg Church, Norway
2L 2L165SABD SACD/BD-A [62:13]
Trio MediŠval has established a fine reputation as a period music ensemble and a frequent collaborator with musicians that have both a feeling for traditional repertoire and highly individual improvisational voices. This was the case with their ECM album RÝmur (review), and they have also combined new and ancient repertoire with albums such as Stella Maris (review).
Solacium is a collection of hymns and lullabies: a programme based on an oral tradition that reaches back into the past, with the aim of celebrating our common humanity. “We'll never know the first song or the first singer, and we'll never know what they sang about. But if time could unwind and we could hear it, perhaps we would witness a mother or a father singing the first lullaby. When we sing a hymn or a lullaby we become a link in a chain that began in the unknowable past and will stretch into the infinite future: a timeless continuum of solace and comfort.”
Most of these songs are either traditional or by anonymous composers, but the arrangements, many made by members of the trio, add juicy harmonies which provide their own sense of atmosphere, while somehow maintaining a medieval feel of ancient mystery. Swedish and Norwegian listeners may hear familiar tunes, but while most if not all will be new to most of us the music is very accessible, following that universally gentle lyricism that characterises lullabies and hymns all over the world. Double bass player Mats Eilertsen musically introduces and rhythmically underpins Nu haver denna dag, and the slow-air saxophone of Trygve Seim joins in stylishly and with slippery glissandi with Bysjan, bysjan. A saxophone solo opens Skal vi ustridig hist, and a subsequent duet with voice becomes one with double bass before the other voices join for a beautiful apotheosis. Each piece is its own highlight, but further colour emerges in Limu lima with the addition of melody chimes, a truly gorgeous effect.
This haunting timeline of vocal gems is brought up to date with the final tracks: two new lullabies by Anders Jormin and Sinikka Langeland, both of which were made as musical gifts for their author’s children. Both are lovely pieces, Lillebrors hjerte having a minor-key poignancy, and Nattens vingar being the more modern sounding of the two, with ‘jazzy’ close harmonies to spice up a deceptively simple melody.
This is as usual a demonstration quality recording from Morten Lindberg, the voices and instruments close and intimate, but set perfectly amidst the gorgeous resonance of Sofienberg Church. SACD and Blu-ray discs between them support full surround sound, Dolby Atmos, Auro 3D etc., and all sung texts are printed in the booklet with English translations.
Trio: Anna Maria Friman, Linn Andrea Fuglseth, Jorunn Lovise Husan
Mats Eilertsen (double bass), Trygve Seim (saxophone)