Smörgåsbord is addictive
The Marais Project, directed by Jenny Eriksson, recently released a new CD that you wont be able to stop listening to once you play it. I have a couple of friends who have it on permanent replay in their car or at home and I’m pretty addicted to it myself!
A rich heritage of Swedish Baroque music
Jenny Eriksson, an Australian of Swedish heritage, teamed up with Tommie Andersson, a fellow Swede who migrated here as a young adult, to produce a CD of Swedish music (with a little Marais thrown in for good measure). Who knew there was such a rich heritage of Swedish Baroque music! Swedish composers, Johan Roman and Carl Bellman (both 18th Century), complemented by 20th Century composer and jazz pianist Esbjorn Svensson, probably don’t feature in your current CD collection. Roman moved in the same circles as Handel, Bononcini, and Geminiani for a time, and was a prolific composer. Bellman was a national poet who wrote wonderful songs about earthy subjects (basically, wine, women and song) as well as the sublime (God reigns and all is well with the world). Each of the 24 tracks on the CD, most of them arranged by Andersson, is an Australian premiere and I have to wonder how much of this body of work has been recorded on baroque instruments outside of Sweden.
Outstanding group of talented and experienced baroque specialists
The Smogasbord musicians are an outstanding group of talented and experienced baroque specialists – Jenny on viol da gamba, Tommie on theorbo and classical guitar, Melissa Farrow on baroque flute, and Fiona Ziegler on baroque violin. Pascal Herington, a fine young tenor currently studying in Germany, provides vocals.
Hard to pick a favourite but the track
It’s hard to pick a favourite but the track I constantly return to is the opening number, a traditional tune “Gammal fabodpsalm” (Old Pastoral Hymn) which is hauntingly beautiful. This was originally sung by women tending cattle in the mountains and can be traced back to the 18th Century. It is exquisitely played and in that respect is typical of the rest of the CD.
Pascal Herington sings a wonderful collection of four songs by Carl Bellman (18th Century) with their distinctive folk style and quirky rhythms, specially arranged by Andersson. The delicate interplay between the voice and Farrow’s wooden flute with its muted tone is wonderful, and Herington deserves full marks for mastering the Swedish pronunciation.
There isn’t a track on this CD that you wont enjoy, I can guarantee! The booklet that comes with it is extensive, running to 27 pages, and enhances one’s understanding of and appreciation for the music. Let’s hope this is not the only CD of Swedish music to be released by this ensemble.
Go to the launch concert in Sydney >>>
The Roman Suite for Flute and Continuo
Jenny and Tommie share where the idea for this CD came from