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WORKS: Violin Concerto; Duplex; Partita für Paul
PERFORMER: Peter Herresthal (violin), Øystein Sonstad (cello), Mats Claesson (electronics); Stavanger SO/Eivind Aadland
Arne Nordheim was the pioneer of electronic music in Norway and celebrated his 70th birthday last year. He is decently represented in the catalogue; two of the works on this CD, Duplex for violin and viola (1991) and Partita für Paul (1985) have already been recorded. The Paul of the latter, incidentally, is Klee, five of whose paintings inspire these short pieces. In the last two, the soloist is recorded and plays, as it were, in concert with himself to quite imaginative effect. Duplex is a 1999 revision of an earlier score for violin and cello. The main piece is the Violin Concerto of 1996 written for (and expertly played by) Peter Herresthal, who displays much virtuosity throughout. Nordheim is an eclectic with a sophisticated aural imagination and a lively musical intelligence. But the Concerto itself is more arresting than satisfying: there is some beauty of incident and some striking sonorities but the whole does not constitute the sum of the parts. Other may find more substance to this work than I do, and there is no question as to the quality of the performance or the superb recording, which can safely be recommended to Nordheim’s admirers. Robert Layton