Henriksen, Arve And Trio Mediaeval: Rimur
Over several summers Trio Mediaeval and trumpeter Arve Henriksen spent many days together by the beautiful Dalsfjorden on the Norwegian west coast, and it was there that most of the music for this recording was born. Fascinated and inspired by Icelandic sagas, beautiful chants, folk songs, religious hymns and fiddle tunes, the quartet has arranged a unique set of songs where improvisation, mediaeval and traditional music from Iceland, Norway and Sweden meet the present. The singers and trumpeter have often performed in live settings with the collaboration being described as "a richly musical and imaginative encounter". Rimur is their first extensive collaboration on disc and was recorded in February 2016 at Munich's Himmelfahrtskirche, produced by Manfred Eicher.
When you come at this album with no background knowledge of what to expect, there's little doubt that the impression you're left with is one of a religious faith being revered, the instrumentation sparse and faint, even the trumpet of Henriksen often blending seamlessly with the voices; giving the impression they are almost one and the same, or at least intrinsically linked. In many ways that explains music that feels more elemental than anything else, the traditions and authenticity of these gloriously meshing voices and atmospheres quite moving and almost organic in nature. That said, there's no easy way in – you'll either get this or you won't – the impression, for those not immediately taken by the pensive, quiet celebratory tone – one of remoteness and fragility to the extent that they may wonder if they've missed the point. Someone even going as far as to ask me why I was listening to Christmas music in the middle of April… In itself that illustrates that this is solitary music. Sounds for thinking to, losing oneself in and to sit, preferably in a darkened room, candles lit, with absolutely no distractions. For make no mistake, if the spell cast is broken, then the opportunity to fully engage with this album is cast aside to the extent that you'll soon forget it exists. It is also, through it's very reason for being, rather one paced, although that is something quickly forgiven when you understand the complexity and skill behind shaping these pieces, especially when a 'fits best' approach was taken by the trio and Henriksen when they didn't have confirmation of how some of the more traditional moments were intended.
Mood music this may be, and a fragile and at times remote mood at that. Yet with the poise and precision of this album's tone assured and impressive, under the correct circumstances, Rimur can prove quite breathtaking.
1. St Birgitta Hymn: Rosa rorans bonitatem
2. O Jesu dulcissime
3. Om ödet skulle skicka mig
5. Rís upp, drottni dýrđ
6. St Magnus Hymn: Nobilis humilis
7. Láta gjalla létt og hátt
9. St Sunniva Hymn: Eterna Christi munera
11. Anda ţinn guđ mér gef ţú vist
12. Sulla lulla
13. Du är den första
14. Alma Redemptoris Mater
15. Bíum bíum bambaló
16. Jag haver ingen kärare
Added: April 22nd 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Rimur at ECM Records
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