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Hyperion Records

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Track(s) taken from CDA67228
Recording details: November 2000
Berner Münster, Switzerland
Produced by Paul Spicer
Engineered by Paul Niederberger
Release date: August 2001
Total duration: 16 minutes 43 seconds

'Another feast of organ music played on a fine instrument. Herrick’s playing … can only be described as unfailingly brilliant … Hyperion has found … the key to the continued success of this hugely enjoyable and, at times, downright spectacular series of Organ Fireworks. Herrick is a musician with a powerful urge to communicate. And communicate he does, drawing on his enormous technical and intellectual resources to turn out performances which sometimes amaze, often astound but never fail to stimulate' (Gramophone)

'A definite recommendation for this latest Fireworks CD is in order' (International Record Review)

Seven Allegorical Pictures based upon the Norwegian folktune 'Kling no, klokka'

Ljod 'Sound'  [2'15]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Christopher Herrick, to whom the work is dedicated, gave the first performance of Sverre Eftestøl’s Seven Allegorical Pictures on the Frobenius organ in Kingston Parish Church, Surrey, in June 1996. It can be heard as a musical quest for the tune Kling no, klokka (‘Sound the bell’) which appears in its most explicit form in the final variation, although it has been present, albeit somewhat hidden, from the second movement onwards. Eftestøl studied piano and organ in Kristiansand and Oslo in his native Norway and composition with George Crumb and Mauricio Kagel in Salzburg. While the influence of both can be felt in the present work, the composer has crafted for himself a distinctive and personal language. The nineteenth-century Norwegian poet Elias Blix wrote his Christmas hymn ‘Sound the bell from every tower!’ to go with the traditional tune, and the sound of bells is present throughout the work. We should remember, however, that bells are not only associated with times of rejoicing but can also denote death and danger. Much of this piece is tinged with the melancholy of long northern nights.

The work is permeated by a three-note rising phrase, derived from the opening notes of the tune. The second variation, ‘Tonal Tide’, makes two different uses of this fragment: melodic, as in the scurrying figuration in the manuals or harmonic, underpinning the chordal refrains that punctuate the piece. The gently tolling bell of the first variation ushers in isolated melodic fragments, this music is the most remote from the final goal of the piece. The attentive ear may hear the tune as the bass line in ‘Playful Call’ or nestling in the accompanying harmonic back­ground of ‘Angels Sing’. The wistful melody of this variation is an elaboration of an old Norwegian children’s song. ‘Hark the Joy’ takes us back to the world of Bartók’s folk dances, while ‘Hidden Treasure’ is an original and inspired study in texture and colour. The toccata finale cleverly suggests the build-up of overtones redolent of pealing bells, moving easily from precisely notated pitches to exuberant tone clusters running up and down the keyboard.

from notes by Stephen Westrop © 2001

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