This autumn Frank Havrøy (voice) and Gunnar Flagstad (piano) release their highly personal version of Schubert’s song cycle Schwanengesang on the Norwegian label Simax. This collection (which was not intended as a cycle at all by the composer, but became one after his death) is one of Schubert’s most iconic works. Many of the 14 songs in the collection, including “Ständchen”, Der Doppelgänger” and “Das Fischermädchen”, are among Schubert’s most well-known. Frank Havrøy and Gunnar Flagstad, a duo who go by the name of frankågunnar, challenge the tradition of classical Lieder performance with their fresh approach, creating an entirely new interpretation of the material. Theirs is a multi-genre approach, allowing every musical idea to be exploited and examined. The result is a musical landscape in which everything is allowed, but which never loses sight of the original songs. So, although the songs have been tweaked and tampered with, there is no doubt that we are still dealing with the beautiful music of Franz Schubert.
Frank Havrøy and Gunnar Flagstad both work as associate professors at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. They are also busy freelance artists, each involved in a large number of musical ventures: Frank as a singer, actor, writer, composer and a long-time member of the vocal ensemble Nordic Voices; Gunnar as a passionate and versatile pianist and chamber musician, regularly performing with leading Norwegian musicians at major festivals and concert venues in Norway and abroad. This is their first recording together.