Last year guitarist Stein-Erik Olsen released the critically acclaimed album “Havana – Rio – Moscow”, inviting Academy of St. Martin in The Fields for a musical collaboration. On his new disc “SEONVEH” he has invited crème de la crème of Norwegian musicians for a salutation to Norwegian composer Ketil Hvoslef.
A maverick composer
Hvoslef is one of Norway’s most respected composers. Productive, with a non-dogmatic approach to art, his music is often characterized as a result of the ability to combine the simple with the complex. Rhythmically clever, with a sense of the unpredictable, the music of Hvoslef hits a certain nerve. Early in his career he was fascinated by the expressional force and timbral versatility of the guitar. Stein-Erik Olsen studied with Hvoslef from 1973 until 1977, and has performed and recorded several of the composer’s guitar works.
Works from 1966 until 2011
“Six pieces for six strings” is a solo suite that was written early in Hvoslef’s career as a composer, and in many ways it is the odd one out in this recording. Early in the 1960s, Hvoslef was mostly into visual art, and to this day he still says that he visualizes both musician and instrument when he composes music. Double Concerto for flute and guitar (1977) depicts a love affair between guitar and flute. In Guitar Quintet (2004) Hvoslef explores the unusual instrumentation of guitar and string quartet, incorporating the guitar into the quartet sound in an exquisite and unconventional manner. SEONVEH (2011) for three guitars is written in close collaboration with the trio performing it on this recording, something Hvoslef himself described as “a dream for a composer”. SEONVEH is a colourful and extensive work, where Hvoslef pushes the limits as for what can be played on classical guitar. An extraordinary work for an extraordinary combination of instruments.
Outstanding artists and production
Stein-Erik Olsen, presenting his 10th album with Simax Classics, is in the front line of an ‘all star’ artistic lineup: The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra conducted by Christian Eggen, a string quartet led by Elise Båtnes, flautist and long time collaborator Gro Sandvik, and of course guitarists Njål Vindenes and Egil Haugland. Producer is Simon Kiln, engineer Arne Akselberg – both from Abbey Road Studios.