Sørensen: Birds and Bells; The Lady and the Lark; The Deserted Churchyards

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

WORKS: Birds and Bells; The Lady and the Lark; The Deserted Churchyards
PERFORMER: Christian Lindberg (trombone); Cikada String Quartet, Cikada Ensemble, Oslo Sinfonietta/Christian Eggen
CATALOGUE NO: 465 135-2
Like the CD of Sørensen’s music on Da Capo reviewed last March, this is disturbing and haunting. The only overlap of repertoire is The Deserted Churchyards, here played as a sort of prelude to Funeral Procession, and in this context, it seems much more abstract and less programmatic. Funeral Procession itself shares some of the same gestures – the surprising glimpses of tonality, for example – but it has a slow inexorability of movement which contrasts with the internally activated stasis of the other works on the CD. The tintinnabulations and twittering, avian sounds of Birds and Bells fly in and out of vision – this is music you can almost see as much as hear – with amazing virtuosity from Lindberg and the Oslo Sinfonietta, and Christian Eggen, a stalwart of the Norwegian new music scene, who should be better known outside Scandinavia. Virtuosity is at its most extreme in The Bells of Vineta, a solo showpiece for Lindberg, where he not only plays, but sings and hums over a wide register, sometimes creating the impression of three performers. The Lady of Shalott concludes the CD in more restrained mood, with distant, almost eldritch dancing in the background. Ear-stretching, but incredibly rewarding stuff. Martin Cotton