The investigation of traits from Norwegian folk music on the piano, continues on this album, presenting three contemporary perspectives by highly acclaimed composers Øyvind Torvund, Lasse Thoresen and Asbjørn Schaathun, played by pianist Ingfrid Breie Nyhus.
Involved in meetings and collisions of folk traditions and pianism, due to her joint background in folk and art music, Breie Nyhus has commissioned and premiered these new works by Torvund and Schaathun. She gives the first recording of them on this album, together with a 20-year old piece by Thoresen, playing on an 1893 Steinway grand.
Øyvind Torvund points to connections between abstract embroidery patterns and modernistic abstract formal language, and abstraction in folk art as having represented the incomprehensible and mysterious in existence. Torvund examines the same connections in sound, in ’Abstraction in Folk Art’ (2014). In one section, the pianist records and imitates punctual music on cassette, as if learning folk music by ear. In the last section, variations of one line are recorded several times on top of each other, giving the sound color of multiple layers of cassette recordings.
Lasse Thoresen’s ’Solspill’ (1983) takes its inspiration from images of nature, and the sun’s play of light. Thoresen has created the piece as a set of variations based on a folk tone like melody, that is subsequently transformed to the unrecognizable, “in a similar way that a camera lens may zoom in on a detail leaving the totality out of sight”.
Asbjørn Schaathun’s ’Nations’ for piano and live electronics (2014), expresses Norwegian details within the juxtaposing frames of Nature and Culture. Where Culture is represented in non-electronic sections, with even rhythms and progressions over time, often in technically demanding passages, Nature may be found present in the electronics sections, by details drawn from Norwegian folk music, utilizing its characteristics of unevenness, knobbliness, intimations of heterophony and varied repetitions.
Øyvind Torvund: Abstraction in Folk Art – 08.57
for piano, electronics and cassette players
Lasse Thoresen: Solspill – 16.30
Asbjørn Schaathun: Nations – 23.18
for piano and live electronics
Recorded November 2014 in Sofienberg Church, Oslo,
on a Steinway & Sons D built in New York 1893
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Thomas Hukkelberg/Desibel
Produced by Ingfrid Breie Nyhus
Live electronics in Nations by Asbjørn Schaathun and Asbjørn Blokkum Flø
Folk music excerpts in Abstraction in Folk Art played by Sven Nyhus (Pols i Rørostraktom, 1999) and Olav Heggland (Norsk Folkemusikksamling, 1971)
Piano technician Thron Irby
Embroidery, Kurvklede fra Sauherad, photo by Nordiska Museet, Norsk Folkemuseum NF.2001-1011
Portrait photo by Henrik Beck
Booklet design by Jonas Howden Sjøvaag/Supremeconnection
Supported by Program for kunstnerisk utviklingsarbeid (Norwegian Artistic Research Programme), Norges musikkhøgskole (Norwegian Academy of Music), Norsk Kulturråd (Arts Council Norway), Fond for Lyd og Bilde (Norwegian Fund for Sound and Image), Fond for Utøvende Kunstnere (Fund for Performing Artists), Norsk Komponistfond (Norwegian Society of Composers)