FREDRIK ÖSTERLING (b.1966): Robert und Clara for 2 Voices and Orchestra (Lars Fosser, Elisabet Strid [voices], Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra; Tobias Ringborg), Le vin des amants for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble (Maria Högling [soprano], KammarensembleN; B Tommy Andersson), et la terra for Soprano, 2 Mezzo-Sopranos, Tenor, Bass, Recorder, Harpischord and Cello (Vokalharmonin, KammarensembleN; Fredrik Malmberg), Narcissus for Recorder and Chamber Orchestra (Dan Laurin [recorder], Norrbotten Chamber Orchestra; Petter Sundkvist), Small Words for a Little Baby for Recorder, Accordion and Violin (Trio Gáman), Solo Accordion: Paris: 3 heures du matin, Narcissus, Satyr (Andreas Borregaard).
Catalogue Number: 04N090
Label: db Productions
Description: The main works here are the orchestral song cycle Robert und Clara, setting edited extracts from the Schumanns' correspondence, and the Petrarch and Baudelaire settings with small ensemble. The first of these is a substantial 25-minute work in several sections, forming a kind of constructed dramatic narrative, with orchestral interludes which tend to the obsessively motoric and agitatedly driven. The vocabulary is very tonal. The same is broadly true of the other two pieces, though here the composer disrupts the madrigal-like feel of the one and the very-late-romantic atmosphere of the other with an overlay of dissonantly unrelated material. The addition of small accordion and chamber pieces, redolent of the fin-de-siècle nightclub to the program and the presentation of the disc as a sort of concept album illustrated by a photo-story, suggests a deliberate and mannered eclecticism that isn't really present in the best of the music; taken on its own terms at face value, Robert und Clara is a striking neo-romantic work of significant emotional impact.