Ketil Bjørnstad: Sunrise - A Cantata On Texts By Edvard Munch Ketil Bjørnstad
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- 1Sunrise: A Bird of Prey Is Clinging to My Inner Being07:26
- 2Sunrise: The Mother06:12
- 3Sunrise: Nothing Is Small04:54
- 4Sunrise: The Earth Loved the Air04:29
- 5Sunrise: Recitative I01:00
- 6Sunrise: The Cliff05:23
- 7Sunrise: As If They Were in a Church05:23
- 8Sunrise: Intermezzo I01:49
- 9Sunrise: The Dance of Life04:59
- 10Sunrise: Open Window04:32
- 11Sunrise: Recitative II00:58
- 12Sunrise: The Separation05:48
- 13Sunrise: Intermezzo II04:09
- 14Sunrise: Gravestone04:00
- 15Sunrise: Recitative III00:51
- 16Sunrise: Alpha and Omega05:23
- 17Sunrise: The Most Delicate Nerves Are Affected04:17
- 18Sunrise: Intermezzo III01:44
- 19Sunrise: Sunrise05:16
Info for Ketil Bjørnstad: Sunrise - A Cantata On Texts By Edvard Munch
Ketil Bjørnstad previously explored the life of Edvard Munch in his acclaimed 1993 novel Historien om Edvard Munch. In the same period he also collaborated with singer Kari Bremnes on the album Løsrivelse, based around Munch texts. When invited to compose music for choir in 2011, Bjørnstad’s thoughts turned once again to Munch and to the writings, still not widely known, of the proto-Expressionist Norwegian painter. With these as his guide, Bjørnstad shaped Soloppgang (“Sunrise”) subtitled “A cantata on texts by Edvard Munch”.
In his liner notes, Bjørnstad observes that “the texts written by Munch can be compared to his paintings in their power and intensity. Texts from different periods in Munch’s life have been used in Sunrise. Munch always wrote something about his motifs before painting them. These were often short prose texts describing the subject matter he envisioned for the picture. His prose style was heavily influenced by August Strindberg and the Norwegian anarchist and writer Hans Jæger. He produced modern, often crudely crafted pieces of writing that had a sketch-like quality, but that he would repeatedly re-edit.He worked on several ideas for novels, and wrote a number of short stories. They all portray existentialist dilemmas: surviving or being destroyed, believing or observing.”
The changing moods of the writings inspire very different musical settings. Kari Bremnes appears as solo vocalist in several pieces. Eight of the sections of the cantata include the Oslo Chamber Choir as well as Ketil’s hand-picked group of players, some of them familiar to ECM listeners. (Bjørn Kjellemyr, who also played on Bjørnstad’s first ECM album “Water Stories”, has been bassist for the very different groups of Terje Rypdal and Rolf Lislevand, while percussionist Hans-Kristian Kjos Sørensen can be heard on recordings with Christian Wallumrød and Misha Alperin.)
Sunrise was released first in Norway in November 2013 – in connection with the 150th anniversary of Munch’s birth – and met with a most positive critical reception. “Kari Bremnes is a formidable Munch interpreter,” wrote Norway’s Audophile. It’s almost as if she goes into a special mode in these songs ... Sunrise is a wonderful production that joins the ranks of Ketil Bjørnstad’s vast range of good and interesting releases.”
Bjørnstad has indeed been a prolific creator, with more than 50 albums and 40 books to his name. The Oslo-born pianist, composer, improviser, novelist, poet and essayist, described by The Guardian as “a cultural prodigy”, has been an ECM recording artist since 1993 when his “Water Stories” album was issued. Other ECM recordings include “The Sea”, “The River”, “The Sea II”, “Epigraphs”, “Life In Leipzig”, “The Light – Songs of Love and Fear”, “Remembrance”, “Night Song”, “Vinding’s Music – Songs From The Alder Thicket”, and most recently “La Notte”, his Antonioni-inspired project recorded live at the Molde Jazz Festival. Further recordings with Ketil Bjørnstad are in preparation.
Kari Bremnes, vocal
Aage Kvalbein, cello
Matias Bjørnstad, alto saxophone
Bjørn Kjellemyr, bass
Hans-Kristian Kjos Sørensen, percussion
Ketil Bjørnstad, piano
Oslo Chamber Choir
Egil Fossum, conductor
Recorded April 2012 at Rainbow Studio, Oslo
Engineered by Jan Erik Kongshaug
described as “a cultural prodigy” by The Guardian’s John Fordham, started out as a classical pianist, making his debut with the Oslo Philharmonic, playing Bartók. Encounters with jazz of the late 1960s, especially Miles and Coltrane, changed his priorities and he was fascinated also by the new Norwegian improvising scene that ECM was documenting. Soon he switched streams and began playing with the jazz men. Simultaneously he has maintained a career as a respected writer with many books to his credit – novels, poems, essays and more.
Ketil Bjørnstad’s recent ECM releases have included “Life In Leipzig” with Terje Rypdal, the song cycle “The Light” with Randi Stene and Lars Anders Tomter, and “Remembrance” with Tore Brunborg and Jon Christensen.
Bjørnstad’s recordings have been incorporated in the soundtracks of numerous films, including several by Jean-Luc Godard: “Notre Musique”, “The Old Place”, “Histoire(s) du Cinéma”, “Forever Mozart” and “Eloge de L’amour”.
After playing double-bass with the Oslo Philharmonic Orcherstra and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Svante Henryson (born in Stockholm in 1963) effected an about-turn in his career and joined Yngwie Malmsteen’s band as bass guitarist in 1989. This led to much session work and collaborations in the pop world, and Henryson has appeared on recordings of Stevie Wonder, Ryan Adams and Elvis Costello, amongst others.
Self-taught as cellist, he has collaborated with many jazz musicians including Jon Balke, Nils Petter Molvaer, Trygve Seim, Arve Henriksen, Marilyn Mazur and Arild Andersen. In classical contexts he often works with Anne Sofie von Otter and has directed her tours of North America, Europe and Asia. As a composer he has written music for ensembles of all sizes – from symphony orchestra to chamber groups.