Draumkvedet (The Dream Ballad), was originally written for a stage production in connection with the Winter Olympic Games at Lillehammer in 1994. It was constructed by the composer Arne Nordheim around sounds and intervals arising from folk music, and uses these elements as more than just quotations, fusing them with his own distinctive electro-acoustic musical idiom. Singers perform both within and outside the classical tradition, and are challenged to move beyond their normal vocal range and sound.
This release also marks Arne Nordheim’s 75th birthday, and further establishes him as a major creative force in European modern music.
The position of the original Draumkvedet is unique in Scandinavian culture. It belongs to the tradition of unaccompanied singing (kveding) in Telemark County in the central part of southern Norway and dates back to medieval times. The text tells the story of a man, Olav Åsteson, who falls asleep on Christmas Eve and does not wake up until Epiphany. He then rides to church where he recounts how, while asleep, he had a dream in which he made a pilgrimage along the path trodden by the dead, and caught a glimpse of Purgatory and the blissful souls in Paradise. After coming face to face with angels and devils, he finally witnessed the Day of Judgement when St. Michael weighs the souls of the people on a pair of scales.
Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Ingar Bergby (conductor), Grex Vocalis
Njål Sparbo – baritone; Unni Løvlid – vocal; Torunn Østrem Ossum – mezzo; Carl Høgset, Rasmus Høgset – countertenors; Frank Havrøy – baritone; Sigve Bøe, Kjell Viig – tenors; Benjamin Isaksen – boy soprano; Paul Ottar Haga, Sigmund Sæverud – recitation; Åshild Breie Nyhus – Hardanger fiddle; Mats Claesson – electronic sound design
Musikkoperatørene AS (MOP-PSC-1169), 2006
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