On “Sonata Norwegica” recorder player Caroline Eidsten Dahl and Ensemble Freithoff present three Norwegian composers and one who is Swedish: Johan Henrik Freithoff, Georg von Bertouch, Johan Daniel Berlin, and Henrik Phillip Johnsen. The ensemble has selected music written in Norway and Sweden around 250 years ago, and it is virtuosic, ardent and original.
Does a clear definition of Norwegian baroque music exist? Can one hear that the compositions on this recording are from Norway and Scandinavia? We believe the answer to both questions must remain ‘no’. This music was composed a hundred years before National Romanticism’s clear definition of national character. Even so, there is little doubt that being outside the centre of things can lead to a certain originality, perhaps more or less deliberately from the side of the composer.
In spring 2007 Caroline Eidsten Dahl (b. 1980) was one of three winners of Concerts Norway’s international programme “Intro-klassisk”. Since then she has distinguished herself as a soloist and chamber musician and has toured in Russia, China, India, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Her debut album on the LAWO Classics label, “Blockbird — Norwegian Recorder Music” (LWC1069), has received glowing reviews. “Sonata Norwegica” is her second album with LAWO.
Ensemble Freithoff is: Christiane Eidsten Dahl, baroque violinist; Kate Hearne, baroque cellist; and Vegard Lund on theorbo and baroque guitar.
Total time: 01:09:22
|Original Recording Format|
Baroque Cello by Nicolas Augustin Chappuy, Paris, 1770
Baroque Guitar, French Style, by OIiver Wadsworth, Worchestershire, 1995
Baroque Violin by Michael Sturzenhofecker, Cully, Switzerland, 2004. Copy of Baroque Violin Bergonzi Model 1727
Jar Church, Baerum, February 15-17, 2017
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Theorbo & Archlute||
Theobro & Archlute by Lars Torresen, Bergen, 2005
|Release Date||March 3, 2019|
This album is undoubtedly quite interesting, as it sheds light on a part of the musical map of Europe which is little known. These four musicians deliver very fine and stylish performances, with an excellent ensemble. In short, this is a very enjoyable album, which shows once again there is still much to discover outside the mainstream repertoire.
The eighteenth-century composers appearing on this recording present at least one common point: all descended from the Germanic geographical sphere. A second element connects them. Their aesthetic close enough to meet the musical spirit of their time.
To revive these sonatas Caroline Eidsten Dahl (recorder) sometimes joins the violin, the cello, and the Baroque guitar without forgetting the reinforcement of the theorbo and the archiluth. Obviously, the instrumentalists belong to the family of historically informed musicians. They plunge us into a delicate and singing Baroque musical universe, well before the national romanticism, where the respect of forms, the technical mastery of harmony and the melodic control are part of clearly delineated shackles. The four composers selected represent and illustrate the canons of this period without being strictly superposable with their common base resting on Galante music, with sometimes advances towards the Viennese Classicism, always respectful of an accepted academicism.
If Georg von Bertouch represents this definition well, Hinrich Philip Johnsen discreetly recalls Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and his Empfindsamkeit, which is new, reveals some personal feelings and unknown dramatic traits. until then. Johan Daniel Berlin represents the Baroque high and Johan Henrik Freithoff expresses himself through more personal writing, richer in melodic and rhythmic nuances enriched with luminous flashes (Allegro of the Trio Sonata in g major) and pages (Adagio of the Sonata in g major).
All except Freithoff (Dano-Norwegian) belonged to the Germanic sphere and went to Scandinavia still young where, while claiming their artistic ambitions, they were obliged to earn their living by exercising other trades.
Caroline Eisdten Dahl, a native of Drammen (Norway), after studying at the Bergen Conservatory in Stockholm, belongs with the artists of the Freithoff ensemble to the best of the European Baroque. They all inspire their love of this music played with virtuosity, but also embellished by gentle melodies and enhanced by a convincing rhythmic verve.
A kind and informative return to a musical past that touched all the nations of the old world in the eighteenth century.
The Norwegians Johan Henrik Freithoff, Georg von Bertouch, Johan Daniel Berlin, and the Swede Henrik Phillip Johnsen are Composers with whom probably even some Insiders of the Baroque Scene have to fit.
The Music world is still mostly Euro-centrically oriented. What’s going on at the Ends of the Continent, it’s hard to be heard. Wrongly!
This teaches us once again this Recording with Baroque music from the Scandinavian Area. Four composers are hard to locate in purely geo-historical terms, as today we think within limits that did not yet exist in the 18th Century.
This also applies to music, which cannot be unceremoniously labeled as a Scandinavian Baroque. Freithoff, Bertouch, Johnsen, and Berlin have gone through different schools, Inspired in a variety of musical ways.
‘Sonata Norwegica’ thus primarily expands our musical horizon and does so in an excellent, very vital and dynamic way.
The ‘Ensemble Freithoff’ and the Flutist Caroline Eidsten Dahl play the seven Sonatas unpretentiously, without artificial musical face lifting. The Opposite is true. The Performers strike a pleasantly rough tone in places, which is to the advantage of the Music, as it is only in this way that it gets the necessary relief and real edges. This also benefits the slow, lyrical Sentences, which stand out as important dynamic counterpoints.
With works by not well known Norwegian composers Johan Henrik Freithoff, Georg von Bertouch, Johan Daniel Berlin, and the Swede, Henrik Phillip Johnsen, Sonata Norwegica agreeably widens the musical horizon. The performances by Ensemble Freithoff and flutist Caroline Eidsten Dahl are unpretentious, dynamic and provide a wonderful sound.
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