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Prelude, Fnugg & Riffs - Oystein Baadsvik, BIS


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Performed by Baadsvik Oystein, Anita Bohlin, Marten Landstrom and Chrstian Lindberg with the Swedish Wind Ensemble
Composers:  Baadsvik, Oystein; Bernstein, Leonard; Diev, Boris; Giske, Svein Henrik; Hogberg, Fredrik; Nelson, Daniel; Turnage, Mark-Anthony
Arranged by:  Hogstedt, Anders
Conducted by:  Lindberg, Christian

"The irresistible title of Prelude, Fnugg & Riffs refers to the opening work on this delightful disc of wind music, Leonard Bernstein's Prelude, Fugue and Riffs for clarinet and jazz ensemble of 1949. The Bernstein touches off a high-spirited and pleasingly international collection of wind pieces that keep the listener engaged and entertained even as they push into contemporary instrumental techniques. Øystein Baadsvik/Svein H. Giske's Fnugg Blue is a rare example of a composition (Baadsvik's Fnugg) further developed by a second composer (Giske's Fnugg Blue). The word "fnugg," Baadsvik explains dryly, represents "how it may sound when I play with the various sounds of the tuba"; the original work, for solo tuba, incorporated Norwegian folk rhythms and sounds reminiscent of the Australian didjeridoo. Giske added band and synthesizer parts. The work embeds extended playing techniques in an accessible world music context. Advanced techniques are likewise artfully woven into Soviet composer Boris Diev's short (nine-minute) Concerto for tuba and wind orchestra, a work essentially in the Shostakovich idiom but containing an extended central percussion section, punctuated by little blasts on the tuba, that Shostakovich probably wouldn't have thought of. The rest of the music is arranged for the Swedish Wind Ensemble from other sources. Most entertaining of all is Fredrik Högberg's Trolltuba, billed as for tuba and wind orchestra but also including spoken parts for a solo narrator plus a chorus of the players. The text, in inadequate English that only highlights the comic effect, is the Scandinavian folk tale of Billy Goats Gruff. Mark-Anthony Turnage's A Quick Blast for wind, brass, and percussion is a good example of that British composer's jazz-inflected style, while American-Swedish composer Daniel Nelson's Metallëphônic Remix for tuba and wind ensemble draws on the experience of hearing heavy metal music seep through the ceiling of his apartment and mix with the music he was hearing. This is something of a one-joke work, but the idea is realized in several entertaining ways. The entire album is high-spirited, light without ever being trite or easy. BIS' engineering captures the large variety of sounds present on the disc, but it's recorded at such a low level that you have to be careful: you could easily put on another disc without adjusting the volume and blast yourself out of the room."
     --  James Manheim (AllMusic)

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