Voices from the Gregorian tradition, from the depths of our western vocal tradition, meet a new, modern musical language in an organic, but nonetheless refreshing and unpredictable way, filtered through composer Henrik Ødegaard´s finely tuned means of expression.
There are always contrasts in Henrik Ødegaard´s music. Overtones or modality are set as a contrast to an abstract, personal musical language. Improvisation is contrasted to the annotated, and contrasting elements – light and shade, foreground and background, open and closed – are generated through his development of the material. He investigates the relationship between the Gregorian tradition and a modern, free-tonal style, in both a playful neo-classical direction and abstract, almost impressionist, experiments in timbre. “Te lucis ante terminum” sets improvisatory elements against the traditional material in a large-scale tuneful composition, while the three “Cantus”-works puts Gregorian melodies in the original notation together with modern harmonisation. The opening work “Arise, my love!”, however, takes a different approach, not being based on the Gregorian, and creates with its open intervals and additions of whistling, laughter and shouts a positive, joyful style, where the sensuality is clear both in music and words.
Henrik Ødegaard: a Gregorian conductor amidst a vital folk-music scene
Henrik Ødegaard was educated as a music teacher, organist and composer. He studied composition with Lasse Thoresen in Oslo and Tristan Keuris in Utrecht, Holland, and later studied Gregorian conducting at the National Conservatory in Paris. His list of works cover all genres, with emphasis on vocal music. Residing in Sauherad, Telemark, Ødegaard lives amidst a vital folk-music scene – a musical heritage that has proved to play an increasing part in his compositions.
The Estonian National Male Choir (RAM) and Vox Clamantis
Founded in 1944, The Estonian National Male Choir (RAM) is now a world-renowned professional choir noted for its renditions of large-scale choral works. The choir regularly records for broadcasting companies, and has collaborated with Deutsche Grammophon and Sony, performed more than 6 000 concerts all over the world and won several awards, most notably a Grammy Award in the category of Choral Music. Vox Clamantis, on the other hand, was formed in 1996 and comprises a diversity of musicians – singers, composers, instrumentalists and conductors – who have made themselves noted for their performances of Gregorian music, early polyphony and contemporary music, with compositions written specifically for the choir by composers such as Arvo Pärt, Helena Tulve, Tõnis Kaumann and Erkki-Sven Tüur. The ensemble does extensive touring, collaborating with a range of notable musicians from all over the world, recorded albums for ECM and Mirare, and have won several prizes and awards.