Fusing medieval, contemporary and improvised elements, vocal ensemble Trio MediŠval team up with trumpet player/multi instrumentalist/vocalist singer Arve Henriksen for a performance at London’s Wigmore Hall on Feb 14.
Medieval music, featuring 12th-century Italian Laude, 13th-century French Notre Dame repertoire and Norwegian medieval ballads will be performed alongside a number of newly commissioned pieces composed to medieval texts specifically for these four musicians by Andrew Smith and Jon Balke. The performance’s programme has been uniquely devised for the occasion.
‘Light, beautifully tuned voices, wonderful dynamic variety, perfect rapport, imaginative presentation – a true masterclass in a cappella singing’ The Times
Since coming together as a trio in 1997 the three sopranos Anna Maria Friman, Linn Andrea Fuglseth and Torunn ěstrem Ossum have enjoyed international success of the utmost kind. In Europe, and not least in America their music -of such depth and beauty that words always seem inadequate- has been embraced by critics and audiences alike. Also in the form of record sales: Their first album, ‘Words of the Angel’ (2001) immediately entered The Billboard Top 10 Bestseller list of classical music. ‘Words of the Angel’ was followed by ‘Soir, dit-elle’ (2004) and ‘Stella Maris’ (2005) – all of which were released on the prestigious ECM label.
After having received enthusiastic reviews right after its release, Trio MediŠval’s latest outing, ‘Folk Songs’, was bestowed with a Grammy nomination in the best chamber music category.
Wrote The New York Times on a recent Trio Mediaeval performance: "(...) these three voices blended with a supernatural clarity and beauty that might cause even a confirmed agnostic to contemplate a spark of divinity in these centuries-old manuscripts."
Arve Henriksen is undoubtedly one of the great innovators of his instrument, the trumpet. In fact, ‘innovator’ does not capture the nature of his art, for he does not simply come up with new musical traits and qualities but has been one to rethink, or re-explore, the fundamental and physical aspects of his instrument and its “thingliness”. For this he is regarded a visionary, and he has been one to introduce entirely new modes of making and experiencing music. Part of this is influenced by Japanese culture, not just music, but a fundamental mindset; the notion of the “thingly” and autonomous self-being of instruments and sounds.
Henriksen has worked with many musicians familiar to ECM listeners, including Jon Balke (with whose Magnetic North Orchestra he has played extensively), Anders Jormin, Edward Vesala, Jon Christensen, Marilyn Mazur, Audun Kleive, Nils Petter MolvŠr, Misha Alperin, Arkady Shilkloper, Arild Andersen, Stian Carstensen, Dhafer Youssef, Hope Sanduval, the Cikada String Quartet, The Source and more. He has played in many different contexts, bands and projects, ranging from working with koto player Satsuki Odamura, to the rock band Motorpsycho via numerous free improvising groups with Ernst Reisiger, Sten Sandell, Peter Friis-Nilsen, Terje Isungset, Marc Ducret ,Karl Seglem et cetera. Today he is working with Supersilent, Christian Wallumrod Ensemble and Trygve Seim Ensemble.
Arve says: "An interest in sound-making was there from the beginning of my work with the trumpet. I have spent many hours on developing a warm sound, for instance, but not only that. In my opinion, the trumpet has vast potential for tone and sound variations that we still have not heard. At one point, I think it was in 1988, Nils Petter MolvŠr lent me a cassette of shakuhachi flute playing. Then things changed."
But his interest doesn’t stop with this. He has been inspired by all sorts of folk music, also the Norwegian. He is now interested to work with more contemporary and composed music. He has also spent time on electronics and different treatments on the trumpet. And during the last years has also been focusing on his singing.
The Trio MediŠval/Henriksen constellation has performed together and played radio broadcasts at the Bergen Festival (where the trio were Artists in Residence in 2007), the Molde Jazz Festival (where Arve Henriksen was Artist in Residence in 2009) and the West Cork Music Festival, in addition to numerous performances in Norway, Italy and Germany.
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