THOMAS JENNEFELT (b.1954): Nocturnal Singing (Swedish Radio Choir, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra; Andrew Manze), Four Opera Choruses (Eric Ericson Chamber Choir, Royal Swedish Navy Band; Fredrik Malmberg).
Catalogue Number: 02T061
Reference: FRCD 099
Description: Jennefelt has an unique and innovative - and immensely satisfying and accessible, freely tonal - approach to choral composition. You've never heard anything like Nocturnal Singing before, though if you respond to the beauties of Sven-David Sandström or the stunning effects of Giles Swayne's Cry, or the grandeur of Lukaszewski's choral works, you will certainly want to investigate this. Hard to classify, the work is a large-scale essay for orchestra and choir, the latter used instrumentally throughout, either in vocalise or using invented language, a ploy that the composer has used in other works to telling effect. The piece sounds as though it is telling a story - some epic saga of the north, it seems - and along the way employs some astonishing sonorities, episodes of ravishing beauty, and a quasi-symphonic sense of drama, drive and momentum. The concept - and the music - of the Opera Choruses is also highly unusual. They are "choruses from operas I would like to write", though one might be forgiven for suspecting that this description is itself a piece of conceptual art, as they sound like the suite concert pieces they currently are (though if the rest of the conceptual operas featured music of this quality, it would be marvellous to be proven wrong in due course). The pieces describe four very different scenes, again in the composer's rich vein of extended tonality; dark, dystopian and brooding; mysterious and surreal; a decadent and agitated 'scherzo', vaguely Orff-like; and an optimistic, radiantly consonant 'finale' with a post-minimalist feeling of motion and resolution. Swedish-English texts.