LUX (2018)

Smith, Kleiberg

Nidarosdomens jentekor, Trygve Seim, Ståle Storløkken, TrondheimSolistene, Petra Bjørkhaug

Anita Brevik

"The album Lux from 2L celebrates the 25th anniversary of the founding of Nidaros Cathedral Girls' Choir (Nidarosdomens Jentekor) in 1992. Unusually, the choir, conducted by Anita Brevik, has chosen to celebrate the event with a Requiem.  

But this is no ordinary Requiem and Andrew Smith's work commemorates the victims of the Utøya massacre on July 22, 2011. For the Requiem, the choir is joined by saxophonist Trgve Seim and organist Ståle Storløkken. And the album is completed with two works by the Norwegian composer Ståle Kleiberg with Trondheim Solistene."

- Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill

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“Acquiring life skills during a challenging, fragile phase of life — learning to belong, to feel seen and included, learning to build friendships — all of this lies at the core of the Nidaros Cathedral Girls’ Choir’s mission. The Requiem in Andrew Smith’s version is loosely based on the Roman Catholic mass for the dead. Several of the texts of the traditional Requiem Mass have been replaced, however, with biblical references to the tragic fate of children, reflecting the all-too-frequent conflicts of today in which the young are innocent victims. The words that Ståle Kleiberg has chosen and masterfully set to music echo the Requiem, adding dimensions of faith, hope and love. And light too, when all seems dark.” 

- Anita Brevik, conductor

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LUX is the conceptual sequel to MAGNIFICAT (nominated Best Surround Sound Album to the 58th GRAMMY Awards)

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Nidarosdomens jentekor

Nidaros Cathedral Girls’ Choir was founded in 1992 and is based at Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway. The choir consists of the Girls’ Group (ages 10-13) and the Youth Group (ages 14-19), a total of 75 singers under the leadership of conductor and artistic director Anita Brevik. The choir has come to be recognized as one of the finest youth choral ensembles in Norway, and is noted for its sublime artistry and innovative programming. The choir is characterized by its high artistic standards as well as its considerable musical versatility, and has commissioned and premiered many works.
 
Nidaros Cathedral Girls’ Choir has always maintained the highest artistic ambitions with a particular commitment to commissioning new music for upper voices. The choir collaborates regularly with professional musicians and artists, and enjoys a close relationship with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra and The Trondheim Soloists. The choir has also collaborated with internationally renowned conductors including Andrew Parrott, Bob Chilcott, Stephen Layton, Edward Higginbottom, Grete Pedersen and Anton Armstrong. In 2002 they sang at the wedding of HRH Princess Märtha Louise and Ari Behn, and have performed for the King and Queen of Norway on several occasions. The choir has twice appeared in Christmas productions for American television in collaboration with St. Olaf Choir, USA. The programmes were recorded in Nidaros Cathedral and broadcast on PBS and NRK in 2005 and 2013. The 2013 production “Christmas in Norway with The St. Olaf Choir and the Nidarosdomens Jentekor” received two Emmy Awards.
 
In 2011 the choir held two concerts at the World Symposium on Choral Music at Puerto Madryn, Argentina, as one of 20 leading ensembles selected from all around the world. The choir performs regularly outside Trondheim, both in Norway and abroad. In 2010 the choir received the Trondheim kommunes kulturpris, an award for their contribution to the cultural life of the city, and in January 2018 they were recipients of the Liv Ullmann Award. Their album MAGNIFICAT was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Surround Sound Album. LUX is the choir’s fifth recording.
 
photo: from booklet LUX (2L)
 
 

Anita Brevik

Anita Brevik (b. 1964) is artistic director and conductor of Nidaros Cathedral Girls’ Choir and has been involved in the choir’s work since the start in 1992. Her careful and systematic training with the girls’ voices has yielded outstanding results, and the choir’s warm and homogenous sound has become its trademark. Anita believes that the choir should provide a basis for both musical and personal growth; during a crucial period of their lives, the girls learn order, discipline, patience and the importance of being well prepared. And that each voice, each individual personality, is a unique part of the whole that constitutes the choir. In 2018 Anita Brevik received the King’s Medal of Merit for her work with Nidaros Cathedral Girls’ Choir.

photo: from booklet LUX (2L)

TrondheimSolistene

The Trondheim Soloists (Trondheimsolistene) from Norway is one of the most exciting young ensembles performing on the international stage.

February 2011. A group of classical musicians from Norway is back at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, sharing the red carpet with the greatest names in musical entertainment. They’re not from a powerhouse orchestra in Oslo or Bergen, but from a picturesque town hemmed in by mountains and a fjord. They’re the Trondheim Soloists, accepting their fifth Grammy nomination in three years.

It’s the latest in a long list of accolades. The ensemble’s spirit, diligence and innovation are paying off again – this pure, lithe, unpredictable and idiosyncratic group fast building a reputation for quality and originality.

It started in 1988. The ensemble for training young string players soon became known for its energy and warmth. On its first foreign tour, London audiences wouldn’t stop clapping. The Trondheim Soloists turned professional, but the spirit of apprenticeship stayed: student musicians became part of its constitution.

Major collaborations followed. Anne-Sophie Mutter sought-out the ensemble’s energy and verve. Leif Ove Andsnes tapped into its smoothness and sensitivity. Folk and rock artists discovered its versatility and openness.

Trondheim, though, always shines through. They call it ‘the city with a heart’. And that’s precisely what you hear in the unmistakable Trondheim sound.

photo: norway.no

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LUX (2018)

Smith, Kleiberg

Nidarosdomens jentekor, Trygve Seim, Ståle Storløkken, TrondheimSolistene, Petra Bjørkhaug

    Planet Hugill -

This album from 2L celebrates the 25th anniversary of the founding of Nidaros Cathedral Girls' Choir (Nidarosdomens jentekor) in 1992. Unusually, the the choir, conducted by Anita Brevik, has chosen to celebrate the event with a Requiem, but this is no ordinary Requiem and Andrew Smith's work commemorates the victims of the massacre in Utøya and Oslo on 22 July 2011 [read more about the background in my interview with Andrew]. For the Requiem the choir is joined by saxophonist Trgve Seim and organist Ståle Storløkken. And the album is completed with two works by the Norwegian composer Ståle Kleiberg with TrondheimSolistene. Nidaros Cathedral is the historic cathedral in Trondheim, founded in the 11th century. The Girls' Choir, artistic director Anita Brevik, was founded in 1992 and has strong record in commissioning new music. There is a fascinatingly ungraspable, changeable quality to Andrew Smith's Requiem which forms the centrepiece of the album. For a start, much of what you hear is improvised, as the work uses an improvising solo instrument alongside the choir. For the original performances in 2012, the improvising instrument was a trumpet as the part was written for Arve Henriksen, but as he was ill for the recording they changed to the brilliant saxophone playing of Trygve Seim heard on the album. Using an improvisation with a large-scale work designed for choir and organ requires some organisation, and Smith has solved the problem by writing the piece in blocks, with the choir often providing aleatoric sections over which Seim improvises, so in fact both saxophone and choir provide music which will change from performance to performance. Yet this ungraspable quality applies to the very intention of the Requiem itself, because Smith's original idea was simply for a requiem to child victims, it was whilst he was writing it that the tragic massacre happened (in 2011), with some of the victims being friends of members of the choir. Smith has used the basic structure of the Missa pro defunctis, but replaced some of the texts with those referring to child victims and other martyrs, so there is Rachel's despair at the abduction of the children of Ramah ('Vox in Rama'), King Herod's massacre of the innocents, and Mary weeping at the foot of the cross. Much of the writing for the choir is chant-inspired, with the organ part played by jazz-organist Ståle Storløkken creating complexity of texture. And of course the saxophone improvisation of Trgve Seim, which really makes the work distinctive and there is never any hint that the part was originally written for a trumpet. Smith interweaves his forces in blocks, and the writing is carefully yet imaginatively done so that the piece is within the capabilities of a choir of young girls (age 10 to 19), but creates a sense of complexity. The result is very evocative, and though inevitably the combination of chant and saxophone evokes Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble in Officium, there is plenty here which is new and different. Smith's sometimes jazz-influenced harmonies seem to work well with the chant-like vocal lines from the choir. Whilst Smith is adept at creating evocative textures, drama is not lacking and the more powerful sections pack a punch. But overall, for all the work's complexity, it is the sense of the meditative which stays in the mind. The performances are very fine, whether it is singing a long line or creating evocative aleatoric textures, the girls of the choir are never fazed by the music's demand, this is a very poised performance. Both Storløkken and Seim contribute immensely to the overall texture and ethos of the work, and for many it will be Seim's hypnotic playing which stays in the memory. Ståle Kleiberg's music, whilst equally tonal, is rather different in that Kleiberg uses the strings of TrondheimSolistene and both his works on the disc seem to move between stubstantial string ensemble works and choral writing. Kleiberg's string writing is vigorous and striking, with the music for the girl's choir seeming floating over the top.

Robert Hugill[read full review]

LUX (2018)

Smith, Kleiberg

Nidarosdomens jentekor, Trygve Seim, Ståle Storløkken, TrondheimSolistene, Petra Bjørkhaug

Cables: DPA custom
Digital Converters: Horus, Merging Technologies
Editing Software: Merging Technologies Pyramix
Mastering Engineer: Morten Lindberg
Microphones: DPA 4041-S and DPA 4003
Mixing Board: Pyramix. No outboard.
Producer: Morten Lindberg
Recording Engineer: Morten Lindberg
Recording location: Nidaros Cathedral, Trondheim, Norway, October 2017, January 2018, May 2018
Recording Software: Pyramix
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DXD
Speakers: B&W, PMC and DynaBel. Sennheiser HD-800 headphones.

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This album is available as ST+MCH download (Stereo + Multichannel)
Included in any DSD purchase is access to the base DSD64 resolution. All DSD capable units will be able to play DSD64.
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2L150SABD: LUX
01:10:39   Select quality & channels above
Tracks.
1.
Hymn to Love
Kleiberg
00:14:35   Select quality & channels above
2.
REQUIEM 1. Introitus
Smith
00:06:48   Select quality & channels above
3.
REQUIEM 2. Precatio
Smith
00:02:44   Select quality & channels above
4.
REQUIEM 3. Kyrie
Smith
00:01:07   Select quality & channels above
5.
REQUIEM 4. Plorans ploravit
Smith
00:05:36   Select quality & channels above
6.
REQUIEM 5. Hymnum canentes martyrum
Smith
00:08:08   Select quality & channels above
7.
REQUIEM 6. Vox in Rama
Smith
00:06:24   Select quality & channels above
8.
REQUIEM 7. Dominus pascit me
Smith
00:06:27   Select quality & channels above
9.
REQUIEM 8. Sanctus
Smith
00:02:57   Select quality & channels above
10.
REQUIEM 9. In paradisum
Smith
00:06:12   Select quality & channels above
11.
The Light
Kleiberg
00:09:41   Select quality & channels above

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