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Golden Age singers

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Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Knut VAAGE ((b 1961)
Movements; Hexa; Transit; Jug Band Rag*

BIT 20 Ensemble/ Ingar Bergby/Ricardo Odriozola*
Rec 2000, HRK Hordaland
AURORA ACD 509
[60.00]


Aurora
musikkop@notam.uio.no

Knut Vaage (b1961) is an individualist with some of his composing roots in the regular beat of pop & rock, but with knowing awareness of Stockhausen and Cage as well as the earlier key figures of the 20th Century - something of the minimalists, but regularity always overlaid by unpredictable strands, and elements of improvisation which carry transformation 'beyond the limits of jazz' (Tron Jensen).

Three of these recent works date from 1998. Movements for a large sinfonietta-ensemble is 'a minimal paradox: repetitions with countless nuances'. Transit maintains a moderate dynamic level with material in continual flux, 'slowly entangling from something one has got entangled in - we are really in transit'. Jug Band Rag extends the jazz-inspired neo-classicism of Hindemith, suggesting the made-instruments of primitive bands. Hexa for string sextet (1995) begins with rhythmic, life-affirming power, but finishes with unexpected, pessimistic lethargy, 'laying down to die' in a hesitating end, reminding me of the equivocal conclusions of movements in Sibelius 4 and Nielsen 6.

An invigorating collection of recent compositions by an active member of the new music fraternity in Norway, based in Bergen, where the excellent, flexible BIT 20 Ensemble was founded in 1989 to promote cultural exchange between diverse cultural groups and peoples. It has appeared in London's Barbican Centre with its chief conductor Ingar Bergby, and is engaged on a series of recordings of recent Norwegian music, welcome as Norway is the Scandinavian country whose composers are least known in UK. Good performance and production values make this an attractive CD to seek out.

Peter Grahame Woolf


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