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A sequel to ENGLESKYTS. With singer Anne-Lise Berntsen, at the Baroque organ of Maihingen. "This is culture, tradition and sublime artistic interaction between a great singer, an incredible organ and a virtuoso organ player."  sample1 | sample2 | sample3 | sample4

 


Kom Regn

Anne-Lise Berntsen, song
Nils Henrik Asheim, organ
12 Norwegian folk hymns with organ improvisations

Kirkelig Kulturverksted FXCD266
Nominated for Spellemannsprisen (Norwegian Grammy) 2003.
Recorded on the unique 1732 organ of Maihingen, South Germany.

"Kom Regn" translates "Come Rain" and is taken from one of the song titles (Come rain down from Heaven)

The recording and the Baumeister organ of MaihingenAfter the success of "Engleskyts", I felt that for the sequel recording the right way would be to go inwards -  to find an instrument that provided some limitations and challenges.  This was when I accidentally came to hear a rare CD recording with the organ of Maihingen. I got the idea of a musical pilgrimage to this instrument, where the Baroque sound is more intact than maybe anywhere else. The man behind the name "Baumeister" is relatively unknown, and his organ in the monastery in the small village of Maihingen was locked down for almost 200 years after Emperor Napoleon passed by and had it sealed early in the 1800s. The emperor believed that the church had too much power in his newly occupied areas, hence he closed a large number of churches and monasteries.

Maybe this actually was a strike of luck. It prevented the Maihingen organ from undergoing the rebuildings and stylistical changes that affected most other instruments. Soon the organ seemed to be in such a state that it was disregarded as unplayable and left alone. When finally in the 1990's it was restored, the current philosophy of organ restoration permitted to keep as much as possible of the original material - pipes and mechanics. In this way the instrument with its sandy principals, "gut-string" string voices and overall raw but heartbreaking sound can give us an idea of the average organ in the Baroque era, quite a way from the brilliant Silbermanns.

By means of statistics the original tuning was reconstructed (see illustration below): a modified Mean tone (see wikipedia), which means perfect fifths in the main keys and, additionally, a perfect major third for C major. This is taken full advantage of in this example where the key moves from B flat to C major.

And the tuning also just asked for a song bathing in triads...resulting in this one. Notice the charming oscillating voice "Chytarra", sounding like a vibraphone, in the middle of the example.

As we know, stacked pure fifths do not meet but build up an increasing distance. The resulting Wolf Fifth is exploited very obviously in this song in A flat minor (representing the empty Vanity of this world...). Here you can also hear the very special "gut-string" sounding gamba.

More on sound: Listen here how the mechanics of the 1732 organ can add to the musical material.

This is how many musical ideas came out of my meeting with the instrument. On the third day in Maihingen I began to become friends with the organ (the first day had been, as expected, very tricky). So I decided to sit down at the organ in the morning with an empty mind, and play the first figure the instrument asked me to play... which eventually became the first song on the recording. Here is the ending of it, including a little dialogue with the birds in the tower.

Finally: Raindrops are evoked in the title song "Come Rain" . A fantastic neverending melody! As for most of the other 12 we wrote it down from a tape recording in Norwegian folk music archives. Listen to our source:  Ragnar Vigdal .

Nils Henrik Asheim

The abbey of Maihingen:

klosterL

Tuning of the organ:

Stemming

 


Pressen om Kom Regn

"...det gir de fortrolige tekstene et løft som får det til å gå skjelvinger gjennom kirkerommet der vi feiesav benkene, skylt over av klangbølge etter klangbølge."
(Ståle Wikshåland, Dagbladet, fra lanseringskonserten for Kom Regn)

"Både som vokal og instrumental tolkning av gamle norske salme/folketoner og som musikk i og for vår tid er dette gåsehudfrydefullt bra! Mange har i snart ni år ventet utålmodig på oppfølgeren til Berntsen/Asheims forrige plate «Engleskyts» som vakte velfortjent oppmerksomhet også internasjonalt. «Kom Regn» oppfyller forventningene, løfter arven med glans, utvikler og beriker den. Høydepunkt: «Fryd dig du Christi brud», «Far Verden, far vel» og ikke minst sistesporet, «I Himmelen», som er så juicy og spicet at det ikke bare snakk om å flyte over av melk og honning. Berntsen og Asheim sper på med rom, lime og knust is, krydrer med tabasco, basilikum og hvitløk - og mikser en himmelsk drikk!" Ole-Einar Andersen, Adresseavisa

"Resultatet er spesielt med vakre nyanser, kontraster og uvante klanger for denne typen musikk. Improvisasjonene til Asheim kan godt kalles programmatiske. De følger teksten på en fin måte og Asheims evne til å underbygge Berntsens stemme med de fineste og varmer klanger er nydellig. Denne innspillingen er tidvis nyskapende, men klarer likevel å holde den tradisjonsrike uttrykksformen i hevd."
Trond Erikson, Smaalenene

"Når Berntsen og Asheim «gir jernet» i salmer som «I denne søde juletid» og «I himmelen, i himmelen», er det bare en ting å gjøre for å yte deres innsats full rettferdighet: Skru opp volumet på cd-spilleren og håpe at ingen naboer, i alle fall de som ikke liker orgel, er hjemme eller har lett sovehjerte."
Hans Olav Granheim, Oppland Arbeiderblad

 

"Et vanvittig storslått orgel styrt med stor kunstnerisk frihet og sterk improvisasjon av Nils Henrik Asheim...Dette er kultur, tradisjon og stor kunstnerisk utfoldelse mellom en stor sanger, et utrolig orgel og en virtuos organist. En plateutgivelse i en helt egen klasse i dagens samtidsmusikk!"
Johnny Andreassen, Drammens tidende

"Med Asheims livlige improvisasjoner på et eldgammelt sør-tysk orgel det låter øredøvende mektig av, blir dette en riktig rungende helhet." Ragnar Søberg, Østlendingen