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Ståle Kleiberg: Concertos

Trondheim Symphony Orchestra

Concertos - Released August 2, 2021 | 2L

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Ståle Kleiberg’s concertos unfold in the space between poetry, passion and playfulness. This is contemporary music with which listeners can easily engage, but which does not for one moment compromise artistic quality. “I try to form the musical expression so that it corresponds with my experience of life; or, to put it another way, to form it so that it is in accord with my conception of what it means to be a human being,” says Kleiberg about himself and his music. When the pandemic hit the world with full force in 2020, preparations for this album had been under way for some time. A recording involving a symphony orchestra and three soloists can hardly be arranged on a Monday and executed on a Tuesday – to put it mildly. There are many pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that must somehow find their place. When Norway went into lockdown in March 2020, the pieces were ready, contracts and agreements signed, and the recording dates booked. We wondered how it would all pan out. We even wondered for a while if the recordings could take place at all. Fortunately, the flexibility and the readiness to find creative solutions to new problems shown by everyone involved meant that we were able to get the job done in spite of all the difficulties. In fact, we experienced a personal presence and greater attention to detail than ever before, rather like recording chamber music with the sonic palette of the full orchestra. The Violin Concerto No. 2 was inspired by the titles of three series of paintings by Kjell Pahr-Iversen: the first movement by the series entitled Ikon; the second by the title Don Quixote’s Army; the third by the title The Gates Unfold.The Cello Concerto Dopo is the oldest work on this album. It was composed in 1993, and was strongly influenced by the (then) ongoing war in the Balkans. The Italian word dopo means after. This title refers to the harrowing fact that, a mere 50 years after the Holocaust, atrocities were again being committed in Europe that brought the term “ethnic cleansing” into our daily vocabulary. The music is a testament to the grief and pain of this bleak re-treading of earlier pathways. The Concerto for Viola and Orchestra is the most recent work on this album. It was composed in 2019 for Eivind Ringstad and the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra. Edvard Munch’s variants on the Dance of Life theme provided the inspiration for this work, which unfolds somewhere in the space between poetry, passion and play.
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Solacium

Trio Mediæval

Classical - Released June 7, 2021 | 2L

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Trio Mediæval's collection of hymns and lullabies — intimate songs as old as time and as new as tomorrow: this is music with no boundaries, celebrating our common humanity. We'll never know the first song or the first singer, and we'll never know what they sang about. But if time could unwind and we could hear it, perhaps we would witness a mother or a father singing the first lullaby. When we sing a hymn or a lullaby we become a link in a chain that began in the unknowable past and will stretch into the infinite future: a timeless continuum of solace and comfort. The new lullabies by Anders Jormin and Sinikka Langeland began in their heads as little musical gifts for real children, and are here sung for all of us by three singers who have sung many a lullaby to their own children, aided and abetted on this album by Trygve Seim, and Mats Eilertsen, fathers both.Hailed as a "fascinating journey with music of timeless beauty", Trio Mediæval’s highly acclaimed first album Words of the Angel in 2001 launched the group into the elite circles of early music ensembles and introduced them to a broad international audience. Formed in 1997, the Grammy nominated vocal ensemble consists of founder members Linn Andrea Fuglseth and Anna Maria Friman, and Jorunn Lovise Husan who joined the group in 2018. Trio Mediæval has recorded eight albums for ECM Records. Solacium is their first release with the Norwegian label 2L.
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Eventyr

Christian Grøvlen

Classical - Released March 2, 2021 | 2L

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This album is entitled EVENTYR — a Norwegian word that conjures up fairy tales, stories of adventure and stories of fantasy. The tales and stories on this album are wild, beautiful, full of sorrow and of joy, and full of magic and love. Adventure stories inspire us and allow us to escape into the world of fantasy — and they bring us together.About the performer: Christian Grøvlen is a Norwegian pianist and composer. He has performed as soloist with many of Norway’s leading orchestras, has participated in all Norway’s music festivals and has played with many different artists. His first album, Bach – Inside Polyphony, was released by 2L and received extremely warm reviews. It was acclaimed as one of the year’s best recordings by the Norwegian weekly newspaper Morgenbladet. In addition to his work as soloist, Christian is eagerly sought after by singers as accompanist. The present album, Eventyr, sees him returning to his musical roots. Christian is also director of the KODE art, craft, design and music museums at Troldhaugen, Lysøen and Siljustøl, and of The Edvard Grieg International Piano Competition.
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2L — The MQA Experience

Morten Lindberg

Classical - Released December 9, 2020 | 2L

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The music captured by 2L features Norwegian composers and performers and an international repertoire reflected in the Nordic atmosphere. These immersive recordings not only transform the entire listening experience, but also — more radically — these innovative recordings overturn some very basic concepts regarding how music is composed and performed. 2L emphasize immersive audio and have garnered no less than 36 American GRAMMY nominations, 28 of these in craft categories Best Engineered Album, Best Surround Sound Album and Producer of the Year. The album LUX won the award for Best Immersive Audio at the 62nd GRAMMY Awards.MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) draws on recent research in auditory neuroscience, digital coding and in the human perception of high-quality sound. Underlying concepts target the whole system from studio to home, analog-to-analog path and leap beyond a narrow digital-domain view of high-quality sound. The “Music Origami” folding technology creates a single, compact, efficient, streamable file with no playback restrictions, that can be used for download or streaming and enjoyed in many different situations including mobile, in-car, on a PC, with a Hi-Fi and so on. The MQA file can be fully unfolded to recover the exact sound of the studio preview using a decoder. To add convenience, unfolding can proceed step by step, enabling a number of intermediate quality steps, each of which can be previewed in the studio and authenticated by the content creators. MQA will play back on any device to deliver higher than CD-quality. When paired with an MQA decoder, the file reveals the original master recording.This collection from the 2L catalogue was initiated as a cover mount MQA-CD for the December 2020 edition of AUDIO Magazine. Each track has been "white-glove" treated from its original master source to MQA encoding by Bob Stuart and Morten Lindberg.
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stille grender

Det Norske Jentekor

Christmas Music - Released November 13, 2020 | 2L

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The Norwegian Girls Choir and pianist Tord Gustavsen combine their talents in a programme of popular and cherished Christmas carols, leading the audience from quiet melancholy to expressive improvisations and sparkling, ecstatic moments. Anne Karin Sundal-Ask directs the performances with attention to each individual singer and to the distinctive sound of the choir as a whole. Through their warm musical presence, Gustavsen and these radiant young voices appeal to our very hearts.
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The Horn in Romanticism

Steinar Granmo Nilsen

Classical - Released August 27, 2020 | 2L

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The sound of the horn epitomized stormy emotions for composers of Romantic music. Robert Schumann is said to have spoken of the horn as being the orchestra's soul. For poets, the horn's sound was a symbol of the soul's longing. For horn players, however, what was at stake for much of the Romantic period was the soul of the horn itself, for it was an instrument that faced experiment and change occasioned by new technology, notably the invention of the valve. This recording explores and illustrates this important era in the evolution of the horn.
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Of Innocence and Experience

Franz Liszt

Classical - Released August 19, 2020 | 2L

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The title of this recording is inspired by the painter and poet William Blake's collection of poems, Songs of Innocence and of Experience. It is a title that lends itself well to the pieces presented here, exploring as they do themes of light and darkness, life and death, angelic purity and demonic passion. These works are among those most frequently performed by pianists and they have each long been a central part of my own repertoire. They are however, compositions rich enough in their expression to be able to carry a steady stream of new interpretations; interpretations that together constitute a continually changing tradition.
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Beethoven's Testaments of 1802

Ragnhild Hemsing

Classical - Released August 18, 2020 | 2L

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1802 was the crisis year in which Beethoven the artist committed Beethoven the man to fate – and became immortal. He was beset with mounting problems: progressive deafness, strong feelings of alienation and the conviction that he was being excluded from social and official life in Vienna. During his stay at Heiligenstadt in the summer and autumn of 1802 he writes testaments in words and in music that show his path ahead to his middle period, often called "the heroic". His Sonata no. 9 for violin and piano, the Kreutzer, is a defining work for the year 1802 and for Beethoven's heroic style. In sharp contrast is the high-spirited Sonata no. 8, but together – and particularly when considered in light of the so-called Heiligenstadt Testament – these two sonatas reveal something of the creative and existential struggle he was enduring. 1802: the year when Beethoven became Beethoven.
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Ole Bull - Stages of Life

Ole Bull

Concertos - Released February 26, 2020 | 2L

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The Norwegian violinist Ole Bull (1810-1880) is often called "the Nordic Paganini". Wherever he played, he held audiences spellbound with his incredible technique and personal charisma. In his native Norway he is revered first and foremost for his pioneering and dynamic role in the movement for a national identity in the fields of music and the dramatic arts. Bull recognized Henrik Ibsen's and Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson's potential as dramatists, and gave them indispensable opportunities to advance their careers at his Norwegian theatre in Bergen. He held Norwegian folk music in as high esteem as he did European classical music, and he incorporated national melodies in his compositions to portray Norwegian nature and life, for example in Norges Fjelde and Vilspel i Lio. This recording, a sequel to the album that violinist Annar Follesø and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra released in 2010, features compositions that have only been played by Ole Bull himself, and which therefore have not been heard since his death in 1880. Largo posato e Rondò capriccioso (1841) and Fantasy on "Lilly Dale" (1872) are not just examples of Bull's international style – they also bear witness to his stamina as performer and virtuoso. The surviving musical manuscripts are incomplete, but Wolfgang Plagge, with his intimate knowledge of Bull's composition technique, and in collaboration with Annar Follesø, has been able to reconstruct the music.
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The Beauty That Still Remains

Det Norske Jentekor

Classical - Released January 17, 2020 | 2L

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"I had an occasional flash of understanding, but then got selfishly wrapped up again in my own problems and pleasures," is a quote from Anne Frank's diary, the book on which The Beauty That Still Remains is based. These are thoughts we must all take heed of, confronting injustice that does not strike directly at ourselves. This recording represents a deep musical engagement with such universal values as empathy and faith in the good that is in every person. Asylos deals with the contradictions of inclusion and exclusion, and points up the connection between the pilgrims of the past and the asylum seekers of our time. The Norwegian Girls Choir addresses the theme of the inviolability of human dignity. The music by Marcus Paus and Maja S.K. Ratkje frames, in contrasting ways, the power that humanity and hope carry with them even amid the most intense horror, and through testimonies of the past these works tell us how relevant these topics still are.
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Fryd

Cantus

Classical - Released November 1, 2019 | 2L

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With Fryd [Eng. ‘joy’], Cantus invites you on a musical journey that starts in the meeting of two significant female figures: Mother and Mary. We wish to make a tribute to the Norwegian mothers who each year conjures up Christmas for the children through all kinds of Christmas preparations. At the same time it is a celebration of the Christian maternal figure, Mary, who gave God's son to humanity. It is a meeting between the child in the manger, the new king, and the excited children longing for a Christmas filled with experiences and joy. In this way, these simple names – mother and Mary – embrace the message of Christmas and the exquisite joy we all know so well. Musically the Christmas traditions are rich both in and outside the church. Several of our most beloved Christmas carols, such as Glade jul, are based on folk music. But there are also hidden treasures in folk music that we wish to bring into the light, and this made Unni Boksasp and Trygve Brøske obvious choices for collaboration. Soloist and folk singer Unni Boksasp has established herself as a central practitioner within Nordic folk music.To Fryd she has brought forth lesser known Christmas songs from the mid-Norwegian folk music tradition. Unni Boksasp represents an exciting musical landscape with the use of quarter tones and curls. Pianist, composer and arranger Trygve Brøske has created the melody of Julekveld and arrangements for several new musical works written specifically for Fryd. With a broad background from contemporary, classical and traditional folk music, Brøske uses his versatile musicality to enrich old tones with new colours. Female choir Cantus, conducted by Tove Ramlo-Ystad, is known for its distinctive sound, that has the character of simple, natural voices which are allowed to sound freely, but at the same time maintains homogeneity and personality. Cantus always strives to be innovative, and often combines different music traditions in search of new and exciting expressions. With Fryd Cantus explores the musical traditions of Christmas; from the older, little-known folk music related to the holidays, via some of our great Norwegian Christmas favorites in arrangements written specifically for Cantus, to brand new contemporary music. The music is presented both a cappella and in collaboration with, among other things, instruments like organ and the traditional instrument zither in Trygve Brøske's innovative arrangements. New choral works with lyrics from the Mass bring to mind Mary’s journey towards Bethlehem, while Unni Boksasp's soft tones and Trygve Brøske's distinct folk music expression reminds us of our own heritage and traditions in Norwegian Christmas celebrations.In 2013 Cantus contributed in Disney's movie Frozen, and again in the sequel Frozen 2 in 2019. With Spes released in 2015 (Best Surround Sound Album 58th GRAMMY Nominee), Fryd is the choir's second album released in collaboration with 2L.
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Mozart: Divertimento KV 563

TrioTaus

Chamber Music - Released October 24, 2019 | 2L

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After composing his three last symphonies in as many months in the summer of 1788, Mozart started out on another mammoth project – a trio for strings of truly symphonic proportions. This visionary work with its somewhat unpretentious title "Divertimento in E flat major" revealed itself to be the quintessence of everything Mozart stood for as composer, craftsman and dramaturge. With its six movements, a playing time of around 50 minutes and the grandeur of its musical lines it puts all earlier chamber music compositions in the shade – but was its greatness appreciated in Mozart's time?
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Skazki

Gunnar Sama

Classical - Released July 20, 2019 | 2L

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Medtner's music fascinates and surprises, in the midst of what also seems to be well known. You may imagine that you have heard the melodies before, in childhood or in a dream. But, even if you haven’t, it is as if you have been waiting for this music to return. In some mysterious way, it evokes the memory of the unheard. He named many of his piano pieces SKAZKA – tale. Some of them carry subtitles, but it is uncertain whether the composer had specific narratives in mind, as the name would suggest. The influential Soviet musicologists Boris Asafyev may have been right when he claimed that "these are not descriptive tales or tales that illustrate an event. These are tales of personal experiences – of conflicts in the inner life of man". In this recording, Gunnar Sama plays five of Medtner's albums, composed over the course of some 30 years.
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BACH - Inside Polyphony

Christian Grøvlen

Classical - Released May 7, 2019 | 2L

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Veneliti

Oslo kammerkor

Classical - Released April 26, 2019 | 2L

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Composer Ørjan Matre has worked with Oslo Chamber Choir for over a decade. For Veneliti he has been able to profit from the choir's strong traditions in folk music in his sonic interpretations of Norwegian folk songs – fervent hymns, mystical legends and bittersweet love songs. By returning to the songs' sources and how they have traditionally been sung, Matre has preserved their core identity, giving it new life and meaning in his sonic world. Recorded here in immersive audio, you, the listener, take part in this world as if you were sitting in the choir yourself.The music you are about to listen to has been on a long journey before it finally reaches your ears. It comprises fervent hymns, mystical legends and bitter love songs. Exactly where the journey began, however, is not easy to say, but along the way the songs gain new life through the people who sing them, each time with a slightly different shape, a different feeling, maybe a new purpose – but at their core, they remain the same.Ørjan Matre has listened to the songs, to the singers who perform them, and has listened to old recordings of the songs, where possible. By doing this, he has been able to identify the songs' core identity – a tricky task given the difficulties of translating such melodies through traditional scoring systems. Therefore, rather than being traditional arrangements, Matre's compositions are more a sonic interpretation of that very identity.Unni Løvlid has been teaching the choir in traditional styles of singing. By learning by ear, rather than reading the music, the singers have acquired a different kind of "ownership" of both the music and the lyrics. In addition, this approach allows for the singers to inject more of their own personality into the music. As for the live performances, conductor Håkon Daniel Nystedt has continued the by-ear approach, and, in so doing, has created a holistic expression in which the uniqueness of each voice becomes apparent.To properly convey both the songs' identity and the multifaceted qualities of the choir on a recording like this requires a producer with a special kind of ear. Morten Lindberg's groundbreaking approach to recording techniques and immersive audio faithfully reproduces the complexity of this sound picture in a way that would have been impossible only a few years ago. As a result, Venelity has a consistency, with Matre's dreamy interludes ultimately binding together the different modes of expression and disparate sound worlds.And now the music has found its way to you, the listener. Maybe you are in your living room, on a train, in a car, or in the woods. Maybe you will close your eyes, or let them rest on the horizon. Perhaps you are tired or sad? Perhaps happy and relieved? Either way, these songs have meant different things at different times for all kinds of people. Now they will gain new life, through your listening.
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Trachea

Schola Cantorum

Classical - Released April 16, 2019 | 2L

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Trachea, the windpipe. A source of transformation where the breath of a human being can be refined into the most beautiful, powerful, tender art. The voice is humankind’s primeval instrument, plumbing the greatest depths of our emotional register. Schola Cantorum takes us through six unique musical landscapes that share something fundamental: This is music that celebrates the physical and spiritual, thinking and feeling human being — and at the same time poses a challenge. Who are we?Bjørn Kåre Odde: Snilla PateaMartin Ødegaard: TracheaStåle Kleiberg: Alt i universetBjørn Morten Christophersen: Oak and MayflyKarin Rehnqvist: When I close my eyes, I dream of peaceFrøy Aagre: Gloria"I love the choir — this instrument which is so unpredictable, so personal. Each member sings with his or her own voice, communicating their own personal story, and my objective is to collect it all, unify and purify it, and hopefully make the Eros, the profound and inherent love, shine brightly by way of the instrument. Whether the music is complex or simple, the objective remains equal: to cultivate an energy and a timbre which merge with the composition, elevating it to something larger than the sum of all its individual elements. It is during this encounter, where each individual forms part of something larger than themselves, that musical magic arises. This is what I seek. Those moments when the eyes of both the performers and our audience glow. This is the moment I know that we have succeeded." — Tone Bianca Sparre Dahl, conductorEver since Schola Cantorum was founded by composer Knut Nystedt in 1964, the chamber choir of the Department of Musicology at the University of Oslo has had as its prime goal to present contemporary choral works with a particular emphasis on Norwegian and Nordic composers.
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Himmelborgen

Uranienborg Vokalensemble

Classical - Released February 7, 2019 | 2L

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For centuries, hymns have transported people through grief, joy, faith and doubt, in everyday life and in times of celebration. The rich treasury of words and music in our hymn book seeks to preserve and renew tradition. It is a tradition that is far from static, evolving through new interpretations by composers, poets and performers of today. On this recording the three composers Marcus Paus, Marianne Reidarsdatter Eriksen and Morten Christophersen contribute new works based on old hymns. It is here that the hymn tradition reveals its strength, and old words are discovered anew through new arrangements and compositions.HIMMELBORGEN is the conceptual sequel to HIMMELRAND (Best Choral Performance 59th GRAMMY Nominee) 
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Lux

Anita Brevik

Classical - Released November 25, 2018 | 2L

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Acquiring life skills during a challenging, fragile phase of life — learning to belong, to feel seen and included, learning to build friendships — all of this lies at the core of the Nidaros Cathedral Girls' Choir's mission.The Requiem in Andrew Smith's version, commissioned by the choir and its conductor Anita Brevik, is loosely based on the Roman Catholic mass for the dead. Several of the texts of the traditional Requiem Mass have been replaced, however, with biblical references to the tragic fate of children, reflecting the all-too-frequent conflicts of today in which the young are innocent victims. The musical material in the Requiem takes its inspiration from Gregorian chant. Melodic fragments of the ancient requiem mass can be heard in the background. Trygve Seim's improvising saxophone makes up an integral part of the whole, yet lives a life of its own in close companionship with the singers and Ståle Storløkken on organ.The palette is expanded with the glorious strings of TrondheimSolistene in Ståle Kleiberg's Hymn to Love and The Light (with Petra Bjørkhaug, organ). These works add dimensions of faith, hope and love. And light too, when all seems dark. In life there are moments to treasure, and challenges to overcome. In the words of Helge Torvund: The light you need exists. LUX is the conceptual sequel to MAGNIFICAT (nominated Best Surround Sound Album to the 58th GRAMMY Awards)
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Ljos

Fauna Vokalkvintett

Christmas Music - Released November 14, 2018 | 2L

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Autumn and winter bring months of cold and darkness to the North. This is why we have always so warmly embraced the Christmas season in our part of the world. For we celebrate not only the Christian festival, we also celebrate the turning of the sun and the promise of longer, lighter days to come. "Ljos" celebrates this very light — the light that shines at the darkest time, bringing warmth and hope. Fauna present a wonderful selection of Christmas songs — some familiar, some new and tantalizing to the ear — from their native Norway, which through distinctive, sensitive arrangements recreate the contrast between light and dark.Fauna Vokalkvintett: Christina Thingvold, Silje Worquenesh Østby Kleiven, Gudrun Emilie Goffeng, Camilla Marie Bjørk Andreassen and Beate Børli Løkken.
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Henning Sommerro: Ujamaa & The Iceberg

Trondheim Vokalensemble

Classical - Released August 18, 2018 | 2L

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Composer Henning Sommerro moves rapidly, criss-crossing his musical stage. The space in which he moves has expanded: "All the world's a stage". In an open room unforeseeable things take place; things mature, and grow. New elements are created, old ones are modified, and earlier contours are erased. With a respectful greeting we are drawn on by the promise of something bigger; the title UJAMAA sounds playful, slightly mystical. It is Swahili, and it means coming together in brotherhood.Where opposites meet there is hope – that precious quality we carry with us that can foreshadow our way ahead. On this album Henning Sommerro invites us to listen to two of his large-scale works for soloists and orchestra: Ujamaa and The Iceberg. Both are composed as cantatas. In Ujamaa we move, as if in a series of dream-pictures, between the world's five continents. In The Iceberg interpersonal relationships are manifested through the voice of Eva Sars, wife of the explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanist and Nobel laureate Fridtjof Nansen. In these works there is a tension between large-scale and small-scale spheres – this in a background narrative in which hope is a steadfast element.Art should be a genuine echo of the artist's intentions and perceptions. In the classical music tradition these are transmitted through a score, and are then handed on as if through a chain of handshakes, from the composer to the performer, interleaved in the creative process of the recording arts – and then to the listener.Featured soloists: Lena Willemark ("kulning" and vocal), John Pål Inderberg (saxophones), Rik De Geyter (bass clarinet), Espen Aalberg (percussion), Eir Inderhaug (soprano) and Florin Demit (baritone).