design by Martin Kvamme, illustration: Kari Staibuy on iTunes

Works of Nils Henrik Asheim played by Vertavo quartet,
one of Europe's leading string quartets. Aurora ACD5044
Titles:  Navigo - Broken Line - Nicht - Chase - improvisations x1-5
sample1 | sample2 | sample3 | sample4

 

Nominated for the Norwegian Grammy (Spellemannsprisen) 2007.

"Challenging and compelling music, different from all the other modernists. This disc is unique and treasurable; try to get hold of it!" Peter Grahame Woolf, Musical pointers, UK

"Dette er musikk som skritter suverent ut over sine egne sirkler, og holder interessen fanget fra første øyeblikk fordi det er så poetisk og så vakkert hva som skjer i den. Konstruksjonen bærer, også fordi Asheim så kresent har sortert fra alle uvesentligheter. Slik blir uttrykket tett, men aldri overbelastet, i musikk som puster friere enn mye annen norsk samtidsmusikk." Dagbladet

"Samtidig som musikken klinger unikt, som noe frembrakt av Asheim (og musikerne), trekker den mot noe universelt. …Dette er en av de mest gledelige norkse samtidsmusikkutgivelser jeg har hørt på en stund". Morgenbladet, 13.04.07

"Hvordan Nils Henrik Asheim og Vertavo-kvartetten klarer å lage musikk som ubesværet bare er her og kan følges med letthet, er en gåte. Akkorder og melodikk er umiskjennelig modernistiske. Det er ytterst sjelden man kommer over musikk av denne typen som flyter og fenger og setter en inn i en tilstand. Hvordan er det gjort?" Dagens Næringsliv, 24.02.07

Krysning mellom struktur og uavhengighet (www.ballade.no 9.03.07)
Kjappe skift for Vertavo-kvartetten (Aftenposten)

"Dette er en lenge etterlengtet CD for dem som har fulgt på nært hold Nils Henrik Asheims kompositoriske virke"…"Grepet er fast, for ikke å si suverent. Det er en sterk, romlig og fysisk musikk, som går direkte i lytterens kropp" Stavanger Aftenblad, 15.02.07

"Fellesnevneren er at denne musikken ofte balanserer på en unik måte mellom det nære og det fjerne, det duse og det krasse, melodi og bakgrunn, kontinuitet og brudd. Dermed klinger den i et essensielt, tiltalende spenningsfelt som aldri er i nærheten av å virke stillestående, og til overmål utformer Vertavokvartetten og resten av laget musikken på mest nyanserte vis. Et flott bilde av en sentral komponist" VG 20.02.07

"Denne platen med musikk av Nils Henrik Asheim fascinerer meg sterkt uten at jeg fullt ut makter å forklare hvorfor. …uhyre original musikk, med et uttrykksregister fra krast til skjørt, fra urent til vakkert." Bergens Tidende, 25.04.07

"Bak ligger det en musikalsk lek, en utprøvende nysgjerrighet som indikerer at noe fremdeles befinner seg i en skapelsesprosess. Det er vel verd å sette seg ned og la lyden smyge seg rundt tanken." Aftenposten, 19.02.07.


These compositions appear on the CD:

Navigo (duo for violin and cello)
Broken Line (string quartet)
Nicht (for speaking voice and ensemble, texts by Wassily Kandinsky)
Chase (for double string trio)

In addition there are five improvisations "x1, x2, x3, x4, x5" which the Vertavo made under my supervision.

The Vertavo Quartet are joined by these musicians:

Aida-Carmen Soanea, viola
Louse Hopkins, cello
Isa Katharina Gericke, voice
Tom Ottar Andreassen, flute
Hans Christian Bræin, clarinet
Eirik Raude, percussion
Sveinung Bjelland, piano


At Tou Scene, the release concert for Broken Line featured 6 remixes by Stavanger-based sound artists. The result is on CD: Broken Line Remixes


Hild Borchgrevink wrote these liner notes for the album. It's actually quite rare stuff, which she was quite aware of as she asked me: can we possibly do something like this, moving on the verge to literature? And I said yes, indeed, I approve going this far... when it's done this beautifully and with such a deep and personal understanding of the music.

So I would like to present them here. The green lines describe the improvisation pieces x1-5


 

caresses
crystallizes
repetition

 

Navigo
If I dared to tell you what I’m thinking of, if I dared to fall, how would you catch me?
Why do people love talking to each other? Navigo is driven by vigilance. The
musicians navigate on their own between composed elements. A descending
motif calls for an answer – sceptical, curious, teasing. Clear lines transport you
patiently in one direction. From time to time all that is certain and obvious disappears,
enshrouded in a more restrained, glittering veil.

falling
dry dark
insects


Broken line
As if trying to paint with a broad brush, but carefully. Bright reflections encounter
something opaque and viscous. Above it and around it flies something clear and
vulnerable. Frayed fireflies, indistinct contours of light.

Subdued, delicate sounds barely connected. Soft, dense calligraphy and strong
foregrounds in which a string quartet borrows the steadfastness of an accordion or
pipe organ. Zoom in: a grey autumn leaf crumbling away. Zoom out: layers of cloud
moving slowly

something moving away from you, you lose

Clear subjects become confused, dissolved, clouded. Lines smudge, glittering
threads rubbed in quarter-tone dirt. Each pulsation falls on wool, faces we recognize
are swallowed by the crowd, suddenly reappear; occasional golden threads
in a web.

hard
empty
shouting


Nicht
Nicht is the fish’s element translated into sound, trickling and glittering. Silvery,
cold, bright, constantly moving. Flute, percussion and piano lend a clear, blue
decisiveness to the centuries old wood of the stringed instruments. Vertical
strokes intercept the horizontal motion of the bow. Through the cracks the singer
whispers of Kandinsky’s white horse on long legs, standing motionless. Sometimes
the sounds freeze, stop, turn in on themselves. Muffled ice noises thin out,
become depths of blue, freeze again, and crack.

turn your gaze away
do not go there

muted
wood
growth rings


Chase
Chase opens in expanded time, in a pulse which belongs to the sea and to
mute mountains From time to time a window opens onto another room, onto
something familiar, a crowd. Then the tempo increases; bows fall onto the strings.
The voices and the sea mix, lines sink into a living, witches’ brew, grow slowly
thicker, like wax coagulating round a wick.

Then it dries out and condenses, becoming faster and faster. The subject, reliable
and clear, is engulfed in speed. The final rounds move in circles, hectic, yet
resigned, as if the discourse knows of its approaching end.

then all becomes quiet
the world moves incredibly slowly

a child runs past – have we seen him before?

whispering
sighing
torn off

Hild Borchgrevink