HAFLIÐI HALLGRÍMSSON (b.1941): Klee Sketches, Book One, Op. 31, Klee Sketches, Book Two, Op. 32, Offerto (in memoriam Karl Kvaran).

Catalogue Number: 05W059

Label: Metier

Reference: msv 28616

Format: CD

Price: $17.98

Description: Hallgrímsson is a composer-cellist who paints, and Sheppard Skærved is a violinist who is also a painter, so it seems inevitable that their paths would intersect in the works of Paul Klee, an artist who played the violin. The two books of Klee Sketches, comprising 15 individual pieces, are delightful miniatures, by no means lightweight, bearing clever, apt titles in the manner of some of Klee's paintings (not a few of which directly refer to music). Even leaving aside the connection to the violin, Klee was the most musical of painters; one often feels, looking at his lively, exuberant, vital canvases that, given access to some mysterious key, they could be performed as graphic scores. It is exactly this spirit of fantasy, whimsy, humour, and sometimes grotesquerie, that these diverse little character pieces evoke. Offerto (1991) also pays tribute to a painter, the Icelandic abstract painter Karl Kvaran, a friend of the composer. A substantial work in four movements, it utilises the full technical resources of the violin, which as a virtuoso string player Hallgrímsson understands very well, to evoke in the most expressive terms four stages of grief. The first movement is hesitant, played as with a trembling hand to symbolize a stuttering attempt to write an ephemeral eulogy while still too grief-stricken to compose a solid line. The second is gentle but vivid portrait-memory of the artist at work in his studio, painterly gestures of the bow evoking the brush-strokes of Kvaran's strong geometrical abstractionist forms and lines. The third is a kind of furious, protesting scherzo in angry, angular gestures, while the finale, "Almost a Hymn" gives way to resignation, reflection, and farewell. Peter Sheppard Skærved (violin).

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