Norwegian Works for Saxophone and OrchestraMARTIN ROMBERG (b.1978): The Tale of Taliesin, TORSTEIN AAGAARD-NILSEN (b.1964): Bør, KJELL HABESTAD (b.1955): Un Rêve Norvégien.
Catalogue Number: 01U064
Label: LAWO Classics
Description: Romberg tells the story of Taliesin, the Welsh bard, subject of an intricate, even convoluted, folk myth. The hugely attractive concerto is a complete delight, capturing the whimsy, fantasy and drama of the story in a witty, neo-romantic, tone poem that serves also as a vehicle for the soloist to play the part of the protagonist in a series of scenes from the story, epic, pastoral, adventurous and tongue in cheek. The tradition to which the piece loosely belongs, its concertante nature aside, is suggested by glancing references to 19th and early 20th century programmatic works by Stravinsky, Balakirev, Rimsky, even Tchaikovsky; this kind of wry, tongue-in-cheek self-referencing is not out of place in the telling of a folk tale full of fancy, exaggeration and the blending of the ridiculous and the epic. Aagaard-Nilsen's three-movement concerto 'studies' the three stanzas of an evocative short poem by Stein Mehren (1935-2017) [reproduced in the booklet] full of enigmatic images of light. A good deal of the saxophone part is played in multiphonics, so the work is also a 'study' in extended techniques. The concerto abounds in luminous textures and gestures of glittering impermanence. Habbestad's Norwegian Dream is the mediæval ballad "Draumkvedet" - Dream Poem - a kind of Norwegian equivalent of Dante's "Commœdia". A number of other composers have been inspired by this visionary text; Habbestad's version is cast as a three-movement, predominantly neo-romantic concerto, complete with solo cadenza. Its sections - Dream, Bliss, and Vision - closely follow the poem's narrative, with the soloist as bard and protagonist. Wandering tonalities, encompassing many scales and modes, suggest the otherworldly detachment from waking reality of the journey. Ola Asdahl Rokkones (sax), St. Petersburg Northern Sinfonia; Fabio Mastrangelo.