The Cloud Of Unknowing

Album cover art for upc 822359003149
Label: SWS
Catalog: SCD1185

Hellgren, Kim; Westberg, Erik; Erik Westberg Vocal Ensemble; Sunstein, Aaron; Wargh, Markus

Collaborating with composers and commissioning new music is integral to the vocal ensemble’s musical identityAs a professional singer and organist Carl Unander-Scharin knows what can be created when the king of instruments is united with the human voice. The Cloud of Unknowing immediately became a favorite: a musical challenge with rhythmic vitality, as well as sonorous polytonal sections composed with striking expression and sensitivity to the text. The combination of viola and choir is not common but works very well. The collaboration with the violist Kim Hellgen in the project “The Voice of the Viola” has resulted in four commissions. The two most recent are Andreas Tarrodi’s cinematically beautiful Poppies in October and Fredrik Högberg’s unique and clever Why do you Dance? Fredrik Högberg is an important part of the artistic environment of School of Music in Piteå at Luleå University of Technology. Why do you Dance? is his first choral work. Listening to Paula af Malmborg Ward’s Solspel – 55 takter före skymningen brings to mind the image of a snow-covered slope beneath a treeless mountaintop and the flickering sun, where everything is still, yet moving – “wants to become music”. Brett Dean’s Was it a Voice begins with a stream of intricate rhythms in the lower voices which builds up to the culminative “Why seek ye”. Solo passages, rhythmic motives, and long architectonic lines are some of the contrapuntal ideas. The close of the piece is at the same time lovely as well as vocally challenging. Jan Sandström has written nearly 20 pieces for the vocal ensemble. Lux Aeterna for double choir is an early work of the composer which has been paired with a new text. It exemplifies Sandström’s gift for creating rich choral sounds even as a young composer.

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