SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews
* Strid – Sondre Bratland, Kirsten Braten berg, Liv Ulvik, Bjorn Sigurd Glorvigen, Helga Gunnes, folk singers/ Oslo Chamber Choir/Hakon Daniel Nystedt, director – 2L
Published on May 1, 2011
* Strid – Sondre Bratland, Kirsten Braten berg, Liv Ulvik, Bjorn Sigurd Glorvigen, Helga Gunnes, folk singers/ Oslo Chamber Choir/Hakon Daniel Nystedt, director – 2L multichannel SACD 73, 57:12 [Distr. by Naxos] *****:
“Strid”, for those rusty on their Norwegian, means “struggle”, and the poetry for the selections on this album do indeed reflect the internal struggle of those living on earth in many ways, but listening to the music is anything but. I must say that my normal reactions to these kinds of concepts—where disparate musics are wedded in non-traditional ways, in this case classical music by famous composers embellished by certain folk style songs—is one of utter dismay. (Jan Garbarek’s tenor sax ramblings over medieval music drove me crazy.) It always feels trendy, contrived, and un-authentic in the most profound sense of the word.
But this is different. Here the Oslo Chamber Choir has stumbled upon a formula that not only works, but is affecting and enhancing at the same time. This is in fact one of the most beautiful choral albums I have ever heard in my life, and the “folk” elements in the form of the plaintive solo singers on this disc is almost like commentary on the more formal and “traditional” elements found in the choral work of Grieg, Rachmaninoff, Bruckner, and others. It sounds like an odd thing, but I guarantee you a wondrous listening experience that you will not soon forget, nor will you be able to, as you will be playing this disc over and over.
2L has slowly been building its reputation as one of the most innovative and forward-looking companies in the universe as far as quality sound goes, and this is easily one of their best efforts; the surround sound flows easily and naturally from all five speakers, and one can get lost in the ethereality of it all by sitting right in the middle of it. Only one word qualifies in descriptive prowess for this album, its sound, notes, and performances—stunning. And need I mention my highest recommendation?
God grant us to live here
Jesus, to taste your sweet union
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
The Lost Sheep
The Bridal March of Myllarguten
O the deep, deep love of Jesus
When my eye, tired by toil
Hallelujah, our struggle ends
My heart always dwells/ The Cherubic Hymn
Behold, the beautiful light of the sun
– Steven Ritter