Ib Nørholm: Tavole per Orfeo
01 September 2012
Classical Guitar Magazine
Classical Guitar Magazine'Drama, surprise, humour and still life - with a bubbling undertone of anarchy'
- this is how this album is described on the back cover of the sleeve notes, and really this just about sumsup this recording of works for guitar, soprano and percussion by the Danish composer and organist Ib Nørholm, Nørholm began composing at an early age writing his first opera before he reached the age of 20 and since then he has explored a variety of compositional styles beginning with the traditional tonal approach and moving through what was known as 'table music', serialism, aleotoric music and experiments using unusual instruments and sound combinations including mechanical toys.
All the music on this CD comes from the mid- to late-1960s where Nørholm became a leading figure in what became known in Denmark as 'New Simplicity' which basically meant a dismissal of modernism's complicatedness and a welcoming back to melody and tonality but the compositions here still retain aspects of combining the traditional with modernity, the most 'anarchic' b ing the 20minute long, 6-movement work Tavole per Orfeo (Tablets for Orpheus) where the soprano part includes mouthing indistinct sounds, screaming, weeping, foot stomping etc.
Soprano Else Torp has excellent enunciation through her wide vocal range; her singing is beautifully controlled and proves to be an excellent interpreter of this sometimes, difficult music. During the programme there are three guitar solos - admirably played by another Dane, Per Pålsson, who also puts in fine performances throughout all the songs. These solos (all come in the 'difficult' Tavole per Orfeo) but in essence the main subject matter on this disc belongs to the soprano who takes centre stage almost throughout.
For aficionados of contemporary music, and singing in particular, this would probably be a fine addition to any collection. There are extensive sleeve notes and the whole CD is very cleanly recorded.