SYNNE SKOUEN (b.1950): Une soirée d'été for Violin, Hils Domitila! for Piano, Nattstykke for Orchestra, Fair Play - Pocket Music for Percussion, ... à travers les paroles for Violin, Catchme! for Piano and Cello, O Vilhelm, Vilhelm for Voice and String Quartet, Vent! for Piano, Scenes from the Ballet Volven for Alto and Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 05M092
Reference: ACD 5062
Description: An unusual composer, writing music with clear imagery and messages, thoroughly accessible, without adhering to comfortable conservatism in order to remain so. Natstrykke for orchestra abounds in unusual sonorities and tutti glissandi, to evoke the dark, threatening imagery of a poem by Ingeborg Bachmann, yet the overall impression is of a very Romantic tonality. The piano works Hils Domitla! and Vent, the one with playing on the strings, the other with a held cluster produced by a weight on the keyboard and percussion effects, nonetheless cannot escape tonality, the extended techniques employed so economically and with such a sense of musical necessity that they sound like a natural part of the piano's palette - a rare achievement, reminding one of Stevenson's or Rzewski's similar use of advanced techniques as accents in a basically tonal idiom. Skouen's largest work to date is the ballet Volven, from a Norse myth; the excerpts here incorporate inventive use of a large percussion section (and gave rise to the independent percussion work Fair Play), with its nature sounds and persistent rhythmic ostinati), and a range of vocal and instrumental effects which combine to produce an approachable and highly evocative score with a strong tonal basis. The violin works evoke Bach, without quotation (and with a built-in spatial effect at the beginning of à travers); the string quartet unexpectedly introduces a sung part over half way through; and so on. Intriguing and exciting music, full of surprises. Geir Inge Lotsberg (violin), Ellen Ugelvik (piano), Tone Kruse (alto), Ruth Wilhelmine Meyer (voice), Johannes Martens (cello), Norwegian Radio Orchestra; Christian Eggen.