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ClassicsOnline Home » THORESEN, L.: AbUno / Thus / Yr / Qudrat
Lasse Thoresen is a fascinating composer whose kooky religious side makes him all the more endearing like his continental elder Olivier Messiaen. An adept of the Bahá'í religion, Thoresen illustrates his beliefs by constantly seeking the universal in the particular. For example, he starts from Norwegian folkmusic to extrapolate complicated theories about intonation and vocal technique in his masterpiece "Opus 42" (available on 2L: album entitled "Himmelkvad").
As boldly original as Thoresen's artistic stance may seem, he places himself, like a humble religious follower, in a long tradition of Norwegian musicians who strove to reveal the universal in the very particular folk practices of their country. Composer Geirr Tveitt began in the 1920s by analyzing the modal structures in Hardanger folk melodies, supporting his findings with fantasically batty theories steeped in neopagan Odinism. Later, Eivind Groven, also an avid collector of folksongs from his native region of Telemark, built elaborately-tuned organs in order to better correspond with the folk musicians' practices.
On this disc, the best work by far is the first track "AbUno". The title is an latin expression meaning "from one" and implying the production of gold. The piece suggests such an alchemical process through fusing instrumental timbres. I personally like the slightly dated synthesizer sound of the Yamaha DX-7, also present on tracks 2 and 4. I find it a legitimate way to ease the musicians into the complicated tunings Thoresen demands while also floating about the works like an otherworldly presence.
The most explicitly folk-oriented track is number three, a solo violin piece called Yr. One cannot help but summon up images of a Hardanger Fiddle with its strange resonance and looping ornamental figures, (not to mention the audible foot-stamping).
Ultimately, this disc is for people already aware of Thoresen's work and reasonably versed in contemporary Scandinavian music. For an introduction to Thoresen, I would otherwise recommend 2L's excellent "Himmelkvad".more....
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THORESEN, L.: AbUno / Thus / Yr / Qudrat