Nielsen opus 48

Catalogue Number ATBEP-04 (Digital release)

Carl Nielsen, opus 48

Prelude, Theme and Variations for Violin Solo. 16:58

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Carl Nielsen wrote two pieces as violin solos at the request of the violinist Emil Telmànyi. Nielsen, who was himself a violinist, used the violin’s possibilities to their full extent. His creativity and instrumental know­ledge resulted in two rich and un­mistakably distinctive pieces.

Prelude and Variations on a Theme, opus 48, from 1923, was composed for the occasion of Tel­mànyi’s debut concert in London. The prelude is free and impro­visa­tory. The various moods hint at the richness of expression in the main body of the work. The various harmonies of the prelude gather and form the foundations for the key in the theme; F major.

Each of the eight variations is a fine character piece. They show how Nielsen with amazing imagi­nation expresses his musical ideas. As a finale after the last vari­ation a grandiose version of the theme returns with powerful double stopping.

Design: Erik Johan Worsøe Eriksen
Recorded at Sofienberg kirke in Oslo, april 2020, using Neumann and AKG microphones into a Nagra 6 recorder at 24/96.

Elegy

Catalogue Number ATBEP-03 (Digital release)

Elegy

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  1. Secret Psalm by Oliver Knussen  03:52
  2. Peter Doll zum Abschied by Hans Werner Henze  03:01
  3. für Manfred by Hans Werner Henze  02:02
  4. Elegy by Toshio Hosokawa  04:55
  5. Give Alice Different Entries by Synne Skouen  05:18

Secret Psalm was originally written in 1990 for Nona Liddell to play at the memorial concert for Michael Vyner (1943-1989), Artistic Director of the London Sin­fonietta for many years, who began life as a violinist and par­ticularly loved the slow movement of one very well-known concerto, which provided the starting-point for the three "verses" of this short meditation.

In 2003 I reworked Secret Psalm to include in a retrospective concert of my chamber music at Weill Hall in New York, where it was first performed by Jennifer Frautschi.   © Oliver Knussen (1952 – 2018)

Hans Werner Henze wrote two brief works for solo violin as memorials for artistic collaborators and as­sociates. Peter Doll zum Abschied comme­mor­ates the passing of the theatre director who was the dedicate of Henze's opera "The English Cat". Für Manfred from 1989 marks the passing of writer and television director Manfred Gräter.

Elegy by Toshio Hosokawa (1955) was written as a memorial in 2007 and revised the following year.

"give @lice different entries" by Synne Skouen. The title actually would need a little circle around the g, the d and the e as well as the @, since it indicates that each of the violinstrings has been given ”it´s own” little piece.

give @lice.. thus simply consists of four little epi­sodes, written for the g-, the a-, the d- and the e-string respectively. First live premiere performance was given by Geir Inge Lotsberg 18. November 2012 in Oslo.

Artwork by: Erik Johan Worsøe Eriksen
Recorded at Sofienberg kirke in Oslo, 2. april 2020.
Microphones by Neumann. Nagra 6 recorder at 24/96.

Virga

Catalogue Number ATBEP-02 (Digital release)

Virga

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  1. Nicolay Apollyon: Virga   05:28
  2. Nicolay Apollyon: Fugue   03:54

Several years after I had given the world premiere of the solo sonata Episeme and had recorded it, in 2003-2004, I asked Apollyon if he would compose a shorter piece for solo violin. Unexpectedly, as a gift and a pleasant surprise, the score for Virga arrived in the post in 2009. I was able to play it for the composer in 2010, after which he made a few changes.

Virga proved to be a real challenge. It has taken me quite some time to figure it out, both musically and instrumentally, but I was never close to giving up. The piece generates a number of possible interpretations, and demands intense concen­tration during execution. Unfortunately, the com­poser passed away in the sum­mer of 2015, before I made this recording.

Apollyon wrote the following commentary about Virga:

“Virga is a neume, and can be perceived as a ‘full stop’ in the middle of a Gregorian verse at the same time as there is a good flow on either side of it. In this piece there is a situation of constant ‘give and take’, in both dynamics and tempi, and there are contrasts in both cantabile melodies and rough chordal riffs. The fragmen­tary form can also be designated ‘moment form’, and is built around a small core of an idea about the Virga theorem. I have made use of CAC (computer-aided composition) with the aid of the PatchWork program.”

Fugue, the third and final movement of Episeme, also works well as a stand-alone work. It is a masterful piece, full of energy and drive. The composer uses both the traditional fugue form and the relatively limited polyphonic capabilities of the violin with impressive originality.

Nicolay Apollyon (Kjell Johnsen) (1945-2015) was an organist and composer. He earned a degree from the Oslo Conservatory of Music, and continued his studies in Munich under Karl Richter and in Paris under Jean Langlais and Olivier Mess­iaen. Apollyon held his debut concert in 1970 and was the orga­nist at Sofienberg Church in Oslo from 1971 to 1984.

As a composer, he often focused on the interaction of computer tech­nology with musical instruments. Apollyon’s music bears the influence of German polyphony, French modernism and the Baroque and Renaissance styles as well as the music of Southeast Asia. He was interested in the origins of music, and worked extens­ively with the rhythmic and melodic re­presen­tations of neumes (palaeography and semio­tics) that lead to Gre­gorian antiphony. His music belongs to the “new complex­ity” tradition whose roots are found in the aesthetic of the serial avant garde.

Recording from Kampen kirke in Oslo, 16. March 2017 using Neumann and AKG microphones into a Nagra 6 recorder at 24/192.
Recording and editing: Geir Inge Lotsberg
Design: ERIK(SEN)

Moondance

Catalogue Number ATBEP-01(Digital release)

Moondance

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  1. Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson: Skref fyrir skref (Step by step) 05:19
  2. Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson: Fleiri skref (More steps) 06:33
  3. Bjørn H. Kruse: Månedans (Moondance) 11:02

Skref fyrir skref and Fleiri skref are two artful and imaginative pieces that are related to each other. The composer is daring enough to express him­self in simple terms. As they share “step” and “steps” in their titles, the works invite the listener to consider move­ment. The pieces also share a distinctive, nearly covert, poly­phonic quality.

My first encounter with Sigurbjörnsson’s music was in the early 1990s when, as a member of the Oslo String Quartet, I participated in recording his quartet “Heimsókn” (Visit). When I searched for new pieces for solo violin these two turned up, and like “Heim­sókn”, they have fascinated me ever since.

Bjørn Kruse writes about his piece Månedans:

Månedans was commissioned by Stig Nilsson, and had its premiere at Ullensvang Church during the Hardanger Music Festi­val on 1 June, 2001. The concert took place at midnight, when the moon was full (or nearly full…). That’s where the title came from, because I knew when I composed the piece that it would be per­formed at that time. It had to have a certain magical quality. The summer night. Steep cliffs plung­ing into the fjord. The moon re­flecting off the water and dancing on the waves.”

A version of Månedans for violin and piano also exists, and this is what forms the basis for the violin concerto Nostos. I got to know Nostos very well when I prod­uced a recording of the work. The essence of this piece’s mood made an im­pression on me, and it wouldn’t let go. From that starting point I began to study Månedans and prepare to perform and later record it. I have been thinking about this piece for many years, have gone back and forth as to how to interpret it, and now finally feel confident about the musi­cal choices I have made.
Geir Inge Lotsberg

Recording from Kampen kirke in Oslo, 7. November 2016
Engineer and mixing: Geoff Miles
Editing: Geir Inge Lotsberg
Design: ERIK(SEN)

0,Moondance by Bjørn Kruse