On a drizzly Sunday morning, while listening to a novel CD of Music from Sweden by The Marais Project, I thought the weather provided the perfect background for such lovely calm eloquence.
Two members of the core ensemble of The Marais Project, Jennifer Eriksson, viola da gambist, & Tommie Andersson, classical-era guitarist & theorboist, both have Swedish heritage so banded together to pay homage to their homeland.
Smorgasbord is a very appropriate name for the CD as it is certainly an electic mix of Swedish folk songs, a Pavane by famous Swedish jazz group e.s.t., & a Courante based on ABBA’s song Waterloo, all arranged by Andersson, as well as traditional music & music from the Baroque period.
The first piece is a melancholic pastoral hymn set by composer Oskar Lindberg (1877-1955) arranged by Andersson for baroque flute played by Melissa Farrow, baroque violin Fiona Ziegler, theorbo, & viola da gamba. This is followed by several songs about drinking, women, & life by Carl Michael Bellman (1740-1795) who set music to his own poetry & was masterful in his ability to combine both words & music through rhyme & rhythm. The expressive tone of tenor Pascal Herington helped bring the seeming frivolities to light. Bellman really did have a sense of humour & is often referred to as Sweden’s national poet!
Flute Sonata No.1 in G composed by Johan Helmich Roman in 1727. It is one of 12 flute sonatas composed by a man most regard as the first Swedish composer of significance. The piece allowed Farrow to show off both her virtuosic brilliance & her wonderful control.
The only piece indirectly linked to Sweden is Marais’ Suite No.2 in G minor from Pieces en Trio, indirect as it was composed by a Frenchman in Paris but who inspired the formation of The Marais Project by Eriksson 25 years ago.
This beautifully compiled CD with extensive booklet notes certainly comes highly recommended for the uninitiated who wish to learn about Swedish culture, history, & music. An extra bonus is that classikON’s very own Jacqui Smith is the editor of the CD booklet notes!
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