“Sketches of Norway” is a recording out of the ordinary. As its title indicates it was conceived to be a performance of specifically Norwegian tonality, and thus a work focused on a national musical tradition. These considerations are interconditional with the involved parties: The Staff Band of the Norwegian Armed Forces is the proud bearer of a specifically Norwegian version of the janissary band tradition. Its repertoire has always mirrored a popular sentiment and thus the band is associated with typically Norwegian melodies as well as tonality. This special position has entailed that the musicians have been privileged and therefore soloists from the band count among the foremost horn blowers in the world.
The composer Trygve Madsen belongs to a long tradition of janissary composition, a tradition that in its Norwegian particularity fuses the general aspects of “entertainment” and untroubled musicality with the aforementioned traits of national musical essence.
His works included on this record span a great variation -also typical of the horn band repertoire- from subtle re-interpretations of quintessential Norwegian themes, to a piece inspired chiefly by Gil Evans’ famous “Sketches of Spain. One piece was written for this recording especially, and to the soloist Sverre Olsrud on the Euphonium. In general Madsen’s music allows the soloists, all top ranking on their respective instruments, unique possibility to exhibit their own virtuosity as well as the diversity of their instruments.
The concertos are conducted by Bjørn Sagstad, whose position as conductor, bandleader and teacher is affirmed by continuous work with acclaimed ensembles around the world.
Pro Musica AS (Studios\Sound)
Trygve Madsen, Composer