MORTEN GAATHAUG (b.1955): String Quartet No. 2, Piano Quintet, 6 Songs to Poems by Jens Bjørneboe.
Catalogue Number: 01J091
Description: Gaathaug cites Norwegian folk music among his primary sources of inspiration, and between this and his predominantly tonal vocabulary, with its rich chromatic harmony, at least in part accounts for the strong sense of Grieg's presence in the background to these works. There is also a healthy, outdoor-air quality to the music - Percy Grainger would surely have approved - and an attention to lyrical melody which stands somewhat apart from the preoccupations of much contemporary music. Evocations of natural sounds lead to the adoption of some dissonant gestures here and there, but for the most part the classically-proportioned quartet and lively and dramatic quintet, with its Schumannesque opening, from which the composer then departs - but not too far - into a more modern idiom, just enough to be vaguely unsettling and unexpected, are members of the Romantic canon of these venerable forms. The songs are melodically ingenious and lyrically expressive, covering a wide range of emotional territory. Ensemble Bjørvika, Per Andreas Tønder (baritone), Ellen Ugelvik (piano), Tore Dingstad (piano).