"VARIATIONS OVER VARIATIONS" CD

Nice review in Morgenbladet (pdf)

Review of "VARIATIONS OVER VARIATIONS"

"multiMORPH IV" CD

Great review of "multiMORPH IV"

"SOMEONE IS GOING TO COME" (Nokon kjem til å komme)

Good review from premiere of "Someone is going to come" in German, Oct 2014

Reviews from performance in Germany, November 2013

Pressespiegel                                                                                         
Schriftfassung: SWR2 Journal vom 2. November 2013

(…) Das Libretto nach einem Schauspiel von Jon Fosse erinnert an die düstere Melancholie von frühen Bergman-Filmen. Der norwegische Komponist Knut Vaage hat dazu eine dramatisch-dräuende Musik auf der Schwelle zur Atonalität geschrieben, die immer wieder zu Liedfragmenten anhebt. 
So minimalistisch, leise und schlafwandlerisch verschwebend der erste Teil des Abends daher kommt, so krachend-komisch und brüllend-bunt, als schräges Spektakel, wird der zweite Teil mit dem Titel „Ein Mond aus kochender Milch“ inszeniert. In der Kammeroper aus Luxemburg will ein Eventmanager in einer alten Molkerei eine Disco eröffnen. Während der Verhandlungen mit der Erbin werden beide von einem Killer überfallen (…)
Theo Schneider

Review from Der Opernfreund (pdf, in German)

Nice review of "Nokon kjem til å komme" (Someone is going to come) (pdf, in German)

"I RØRSLE"

Review (pdf) of performance of "I rørsle", Bergen International Festival 2013

"BUMERANG"

Review in Fredrikstad Blad

"KHAIROS"

Review of "Khairos", NRK (radio)

Review of "Khairos" in Dagsavisen

Review of "Khairos" in Kulturspeilet

"HØGSONGEN"

Article by Gunnar Danbolt (BT)

"CHATTER"

From review of Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, American tour, Carnegie Hall:
(...) Those impressions were reinforced in “Chatter” (2005), a short, bustling, aptly named work by the Norwegian composer Knut Vaage. Here six percussionists produced waves of spirited noise that swept through the orchestration, itself rich in athletic figuration, explosions of timbre and humorous touches.
Allan Kozinn, The New York Times, November 2007

"CHROMOS" CD

(Pro Musica 2007 - PPC 9059)

This disc brings together new works for flute and piano from Norwegian composers, performed by Norwegian players. As such, it was all new to me; I had not previously heard any of the works or the performers, and the disc proved to be a fantastic voyage of discovery. Everything about this CD was appealing, from the layout of the CD sleeve and informative programme notes, to the recorded music.(......)

(....) The final track on the disc is Knut Vaage's Fortuna, a comical work with a wonderful sense of fun. The ensemble playing in the opening movement Hoccetus is particularly impressive. the second movement is a very well-written slow movement for alto flute which makes good use of the instrument's  dark. The Scherzo reminded me a little of Shostakovich and sounds like it would be enormously fun to play. Switching to piccolo for the end of the movement, this is full of sparkle and mischief. This is followed by a sensuous reverie again, stylishly played with the previous movement. The piccolo returns for the extremely brief final movement, which provides a splash of quirky charm to the end of the work. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this CD throughout, and am grateful for the opportunity to have heard these new pieces, all which are of a very high quality, well put together and musically interesting. The standard of playing is consistently good throughout, with some wonderfully expressive moments. The duo playing between the flute and piano is excellent, and both performers are  excellent ambassadors for the music they play. Highly recommended.
Carla Rees, The Journal of the British Flute Society, March 2008

CD-"SOMEONE IS GOING TO COME"-OPERA

(Aurora c & p 2006 - ACD 5043 BIT20 Ensemble)

Jon Fosse is a major figure in the modern literature of Norway. Initially establishing his reputation as a novelist, he has largely worked as a dramatist since the mid-1990s and his work has been extensively performed across Europe and in the U.S.A. He has been widely described as the most important Norwegian dramatist since Ibsen.  He writes in a very austere fashion, brief speeches often repetitively patterned. Someone is Going to Come (Nokon kjem til å komme) was first performed in 1996. A later Parisian production of the play prompted Le Monde to describe him as “the Beckett of the 21st century”.
Knut Vaage (working in collaboration with Fosse) adapted Fosse’s play as the libretto for his own one act opera, which was premiered in 2000. The text has a distinctive poetry, creating through its highly patterned language a powerful exploration of the tensions inherent in human relationships; it occupies a theatrical idiom which, paradoxically, straddles the boundaries between realism and absurdism. It presents an elemental theatrical situation in simple language.
A man and a woman seek - so they say and perhaps so they believe - to be alone together; they have bought a very isolated old house near the sea; we know nothing of them, they are called simply ‘He’ and ‘She’. The tensions in their relationship are hinted at; another character (‘The Man’) appears briefly. The house, which was formerly occupied by the grandmother of ‘The Man’, is gradually revealed to contain disturbing reminders of its previous occupants – from photos on the walls to an unmade bed, right down to an unemptied chamber pot. ‘The Man’ makes a pass at ‘She’. The cracks between ‘He’ and ‘She’ widen.
Vaage’s setting employs an eight-piece ensemble: viola, flute, clarinet, bassoon, double bass, cello and two percussionists. The instrumental resources are well used; the instrumental intimacy aptly but powerfully evokes the jealousies and fears of ‘He’ and ‘She’, the laughing, disturbed menace of ‘The Man’. Perhaps, though, one might have hoped for a little more by way of musical evocation of the surrounding emptiness.
All three singers give intense, compelling performances, sustaining the tension throughout. Siri Torjesen, well known for her work in contemporary repertoire, and Ketil Hugaas, experienced operatic performer, work particularly well together and are utterly convincing in their presentation of the central relationship. They disturb and move the listener in equal measure. Though Nils Harald Sødal has a less prominent role, he handles it very persuasively, not least in his long set-piece towards the end of the opera, which is a minor masterpiece of menace and dramatic pacing.
Someone is Going to Come moves to a memorable conclusion, musically speaking, which I wouldn’t want to give away any more than I’d want to reveal the ending of a detective story I was urging someone to read.
This is a chamber opera of authentic quality, which makes a real virtue of the limitations of the genre; it is a powerful study in psychological claustrophobia, in the quasi-Pinteresque threat of the outsider who seems essentially an externalisation of the dynamics which govern the relationship between the other characters.
The CD comes very handsomely packaged, with a full libretto in both Norwegian and English translation.
Glyn Pursglove, musicweb-international, august 2006

"GRAFFITI" CD

(Manger Musikklag, Graffiti GR CD 03)

"....The title-piece, "Graffiti" by Knut Vaage, lasts 12 minutes but also is worth every minute's listening as it developes both logically and enterprisingly and is always accessible. It commences with a swirling line and there's the occasional canoon-like gesture. But though it's slightly improvisational to begin with, it develops ideas compellingly and has well-balanced dramtic shape and form. There's also a persuasive variety of moods and rhythms between its sections, and this stimulating composition would make an exciting test-piece."
Vernon Biggs, Brass Band World, September 2003

"TRANSIT" CD

(Aurora c & p 2000 - ACD 5019 Portrait CD)

"Knut Vaage (b1961) is an individualist with some of his composing roots in the regular beat of pop & rock, but with knowing awareness of Stockhausen and Cage as well as the earlier key figures of the 20th Century - something of the minimalists, but regularity always overlaid by unpredictable strands, and elements of improvisation which carry transformation 'beyond the limits of jazz' (Tron Jensen).

Three of these recent works date from 1998. Movements for a large sinfonietta-ensemble is 'a minimal paradox: repetitions with countless nuances'. Transit maintains a moderate dynamic level with material in continual flux, 'slowly entangling from something one has got entangled in - we are really in transit'. Jug Band Rag extends the jazz-inspired neo-classicism of Hindemith, suggesting the made-instruments of primitive bands. Hexa for string sextet (1995) begins with rhythmic, life-affirming power, but finishes with unexpected, pessimistic lethargy, 'laying down to die' in a hesitating end, reminding me of the equivocal conclusions of movements in Sibelius 4 and Nielsen 6.

An invigorating collection of recent compositions by an active member of the new music fraternity in Norway, based in Bergen, where the excellent, flexible BIT 20 Ensemble was founded in 1989 to promote cultural exchange between diverse cultural groups and peoples. It has appeared in London's Barbican Centre with its chief conductor Ingar Bergby, and is engaged on a series of recordings of recent Norwegian music, welcome as Norway is the Scandinavian country whose composers are least known in UK. Good performance and production values make this an attractive CD to seek out."
Peter Grahame Woolf, MusicWeb UK, November 2001

The opera "NOKON KJEM TIL Å KOMME" (Someone is Going to Come) at Ultima 2000

"This musically inventive and dramatically tense work was well received and deserves a wider hearing."
Matthew Rye, BBC Music Magazine, February 2000

"Vaage's treatment of Jon Fosse's play about a young couple that moves into a house beset by spririts of its former inhabitants has theatrical pulse and achives probing instrumental effects despite an orchestra of only eight players. There's room for more grateful vocal writing, but Someone Is Coming revealed a promising dramatic talent."
George W. Loomis, International Herald Tribune, 11/10-2000

"JKL: 8-10 DECEMBER CD"

(JKL 8-10 December 1998 ALBEDO
ALBO14CD)

"The initials identify a Norwegian trio: Jørgen Træen, Knut Vaage, and Lars-Erik ter Jung, respectively contributing electronics, piano, and violinto imrpovisation sessions which subsequently became the raw material of these studio treatments. The result is an impressive electroacoustic collage ranging in mood from waspish scratchiness to melancholic impressionism. The compositional process has created a remarkable sense of depth and dramatic movement by foreshortening acoustic events, or by getting them to recede from distinct definition into the far distance."
Julian Cowley, The Wire, November 1999

Online review from Sonoloco