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12.10.10

Nordic Voices

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Read my review published today in the Style section of the Washington Post:

Charles T. Downey, Nordic Voices group showcases Norwegian composers at National Gallery of Art
Washington Post, October 12, 2010

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Lamentations (Victoria, Gesualdo, White, Palestrina), Nordic Voices
The six-voice a cappella ensemble Nordic Voices performed at the National Gallery of Art Sunday evening, in a concert of contemporary music co-sponsored by the Norwegian Embassy. These new pieces by Norwegian composers thankfully avoided the trend among some choral composers toward overly saccharine holy minimalism. With a group like Nordic Voices, composers can stretch their legs more, even if some of this music is unlikely to sound as good performed by anyone else.

The plainchant setting of Henrik Ødegaard's "Ubi caritas" was sometimes reminiscent of Duruflé's beloved arrangement, but he also reordered the text of the refrain in ways that changed the meaning into a question. Percussive consonants distilled from the text of Ødegaard's more challenging "Ave verum corpus" evoked the spitting and wounding of Christ's passion, and the six singers added whistling to create phantom harmonies. In two pieces composed especially for Nordic Voices, Lasse Thoresen incorporated not only Norwegian folk song but the otherworldly sounds of Asian overtone chanting. [Continue reading]
Nordic Voices
Music by Ødegaard, Thoresen, Kverndokk, Havrøy
National Gallery of Art

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Nordic Voices is a marvelous ensemble. Lamentations (CD) is excellent.
(South African choral music lover.)

Charles T. Downey said...

Nordic Voices is reportedly going to release a disc of the Thoresen pieces soon. Looking forward to hearing all four of them when that happens.