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The word KIND embraces concepts of childlikeness and childishness in different languages, as well as suggesting friendliness and consolation. The project’s subtitle was “about children, for adults”. In keeping with Ensemble 96’s main focus, KIND presents modern Norwegian and Nordic choral music. Per Nørgård and Jaakko Mäntyjärvi are already considered classics by a rapidly increasing audience, while Marcus Paus represents a younger generation of Norwegian composers with a growing interest in the choral medium. The more recent works on the disc set texts all of which have a certain melancholy, fear or unrest linked to childhood. The folk songs are a brave attempt to offer consolation in a remorseless world.
The Finnish composer Jaakko Mäntyjärvi first wrote the music to “Die Stimme des Kindes” without words. After some time he came across Nikolaus Lenau’s poem in which Mäntyjärvi found moods and textures that corresponded with his own ideas. The piece sounds like an idyllic lullaby, yet it is also melancholic and dramatic. An uneasy adult finds consolation in the innocent sleep and gentle smile of a child.
Like many other artists the Danish composer Per Nørgård found inspiration in the work of the schizophrenic writer Adolf Wölfli whose life and works are a magnificent testimony to human spiritual life. Combined with Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem about spring the three movements of “Wie ein Kind” present a powerful encounter with childhood memories. Some of them are pleasant to recall, others less so.
There is surprisingly little music for choir and string quartet. Ensemble 96 therefore decided to commission Marcus Paus to write a work for that particular constellation. In “The Stolen Child” the Norwegian composer has created a fairytale using simple, yet at the same time complex, means. Through its playful interaction with Yeats’ poem the work takes us far afield to where the fairies lure the little child away from all the world’s grief.
Frank Havrøy has arranged several traditional Norwegian lullabies for choir. These timeless folk songs speak directly to us, and Havrøy’s elegant arrangements give them an extra dimension.