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Monday, July 27, 2015

Torvund/Thoresen/Schaathun, Abstraction in Folk Art, Ingfrid Breie Nyhus

The thematic unity in the album at hand today has to do with using Norwegian folk songs as a basis for new music compositions for piano and electronics. Pianist Ingfrid Breie Nyhus thoughtfully and thoroughly takes on three works for a programmatic CD entitled Abstraction in Folk Art (LabLabel LAB002).

The works at hand: Oyvind Torvund, "Abstraction in Folk Art" for piano, electronics and cassette players (2014), Lasse Thoresen, "Solspill" for piano (1983), and Asbjorn Schaathun, "Nations" for piano and live electronics (2014).

All of the music partakes in transformed, reworked folk phrasings and tonality, broken out of rigid musical straightjackets to breathe freely as abstractions of the new music sort.

Ms. Nyhus focuses on the all-important flow of the phrases to reveal to us the sometimes jagged, sometimes torrential, always reshaped structures of pianism in partnership at times with electronic transformations.

What seems especially interesting to me is that the music generally deconstructs its folk material so that we get something wholly other, wholly new-music oriented. In an analogy with visual arts, these aren't cubistic reframings of recognizable objects so much as abstract expressionist reformulations of form and color that share something of the essence of folk modes but transform them into somewhat unrecognizable all-over, irregular patternings.

That I hope is helpful as an analogy. In any event Ms. Nyhus gives us a very pianistic take on the music. All three works share a re-representationalist outlook, which gives the program a very special unity-in-identity. It is some rather wonderful music, fantasia-like yet airborn by a musical wind that drives the sonic elements forward in an ordered regrouping.

I find the music both rather ultra-modern yet no doubt quite readily accessible to any serious listener. Bravo Ingfrid Breie Nyhus! Bravo composers!

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