Ketil Bjornstad - Four Nordic Songs, The Light | ECM 1757977

Ketil Bjornstad - Four Nordic Songs, The Light


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Label: ECM

Cat No: 1757977

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 23rd June 2008



Randi Stene (mezzo-soprano)
Lars Anders Tomter (viola)
Ketil Bjornstad (piano)


Bjornstad, Ketil

Fire Nordiske Sanger (Four Nordic Songs)
The Light


Randi Stene (mezzo-soprano)
Lars Anders Tomter (viola)
Ketil Bjornstad (piano)


Subtitled “Songs of Love and Fear”, this album brings together Ketil Bjørnstad’s Four Nordic Songs, compositions for female voice and accompaniment written over a 30-year period, with his song cycle The Light.

For the former, Bjørnstad wrote both music and lyrics. The Border was composed for his wife’s 50th birthday in 2006, but By the Fjord, a radio hit in Norway, dates from 1978.

The Light is about mysteries of love, a recurring theme in the work of John Donne (1572-1631) which sets 11 of his poems. Bjørnstad: “The intellectual energy in Donne’s poetry, which was always receptive to the metaphysical, is also nurtured by emotional excitement, and it is this unique combination that has held such powerful appeal to me as a composer.

The Guardian has called Ketil Bjørnstad “a cultural prodigy” and his trans-idiom achievements are certainly impressive. Besides being a pianist, composer/arranger, improviser and interpreter of the first rank, Bjørnstad is a well known writer. He has published more than 30 books in his homeland – novels, poetry, essays – and many have been translated, including 'The Story of Edvard Munch', a fictionalised account of the great painter’s life, and 'To Music' which was an international bestseller. He has released 50 albums since 1973.

Trondheim-born Randi Stene is one of Scandinavia’s best-known mezzos, coming to international attention as a finalist in the 1991 Cardiff Singer of the World. Since her sensational debut as Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier in Paris in 1993, she has sung with many leading opera houses: Brussels, Paris, Covent Garden and the Met in New York, and at the Salzburg and Edinburgh Festivals.

Lars Anders Tomter - “the giant of the Nordic viola” (The Strad) - is among the world’s leading violists and recently gathered much praise for his “magnificent” (Sunday Times) premiere recording of the viola version of Mozart’s clarinet concerto (PSC 1290). 

Track Listing:
Fire Nordiske Sanger (Four Nordic Songs)
(1) Grensen (The Border)
(2) Natten (The Night)
(3) Sommernatt Ved Fjorden (By The Fjord)
(4) Sommersang (Summer Song)                           

The Light
(5) A Valediction: Of Weeping
(6) The Dream
(7) The Prohibition
(8) Lamentoso
(9) The Flea
(10) A Noctural Upon St. Lucy's Day. Being The Shortest Day
(11) The Sun Rising
(12) Air And Angels
(13) Love's Alchemy
(14) Break Of Day
(15) A Hymn To God The Father

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