Hyperion Records

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

'Organ Fireworks, Vol. 9' (CDA67228)
Organ Fireworks, Vol. 9
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No 1: Ljod 'Sound'
Track 10 on CDA67228 [2'15] Archive Service
No 2: Toneflod 'Tonal tide'
Track 11 on CDA67228 [1'58] Archive Service
No 3: Leikande lokka 'Playful call'
Track 12 on CDA67228 [0'53] Archive Service
No 4: Englar kveda 'Angels sing'
Track 13 on CDA67228 [3'03] Archive Service
No 5: Hoyr den gleda 'Hark the joy'
Track 14 on CDA67228 [2'24] Archive Service
No 6: Loyndomens slatt 'Hidden treasure'
Track 15 on CDA67228 [2'52] Archive Service
No 7: Til hogtid 'To a new feast'
Track 16 on CDA67228 [3'18] Archive Service

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