MAGNAR ÅM (b.1952): Vere Meininga - Concerto for Harp and String Sextet (Oslo Chamber Soloists), This Our Virgin Now for Harp and Angels, I Awoke for Soprano and Harp.
Catalogue Number: 02K121
Description: The two 'concerti' for harp were conceived around the talents of the present soloist, who is provided ample opportunity to display the expressively sonorous and dramatically agile capabilities of both acoustic and electric harp. Vere Meininga couples the soloist with string sextet and occasional narration of a poem by the composer; I Awoke is a straightforward song with harp accompaniment, and the other concertante work incorporates a female-voice choir (and another of the composer's poems). Calling this latter 'Concerto for harp and angels' rather gives away the new-agey æsthetic that tends to hover around the harp, with its ancient folk connections in various cultures. Much of the music is slow, with a mixture of mildly dissonant textural writing as backdrop for the harp, and solidly tonal music that, if part of an harmonically functional argument, would be at home in the music of Barber, or Shostakovich. The composer writes of his spatial preoccupations, relevant in the context of this 2-disc set (blu-ray and hybrid SACD) which provides 5-channel mixes in 3 different audio formats, and 2-channel in two, so that those with the requisite equipment can attempt to convince themselves of the superiority of one over the others. To this end, undemanding music recorded in a nice church acoustic lends itself well to hi-fi demonstration and assessment. Ellen Sejersted Bødtker (harp), Berit Nolbakken Solset (soprano), Hildegunn Riise (recitation), Grex Vocalis; Carl Høgset. SACD hybrid (and separate Blu-ray Disc).