Song of Solomon

Release date: 2017

Performed by: Collegiûm Mûsicûm, Eivind Gullberg Jensen, Halvor F. Melien and Mari Eriksmoen

Composed by: Knut Vaage

Text: Song of Solomon

Produced by: Knut Vaage and Torstein Aasgaard-Nilsen

Duration: 40 min 20 sec


"The main work here is Vaage's 40-minute dramatic setting of excerpts from the Song of Songs, a text which the composer sees as a major piece of world literature. He speaks of the 'extravagance' of the poem's celebration of love, and the music is commensurately powerful and colourful. In response to the impassioned fervour of the text, Vaage provided music of perhaps surprising (though not inappropriate, if you think about it and pay attention to the ecstatic eroticism of the poetry) vigor and dynamism, with the soloists' roles exuding an operatic level of passion and urgency. The idiom is firmly grounded in tonality, and thoroughly accessible; the large orchestral and choral forces used to thrilling effect. Aagaard-Nilsen's work is based on a 1999 collection of poems by Georg Johannesen ; "Ars vivendi, or the Seven Virtues of Life". The character of each virtue - Moderation, Righteousness, Hope, Love and so on - is described in verse, and in Aagaard-Nilsen's composition, by music which expresses the essential character of each virtue in seven short movements. The idiom is very tonal and harmonically rich; the ensemble accompaniment rich in bell sounds. Norwegian texts. Mari Eriksmoen (soprano), Halvor F. Melien (baritone), Collegium Musicum Choir and Orchestra; Eivind Gullberg Jensen."

"Both works are of a moderately modern style, without overstretching the musical expression. Considering the ensemble, consisting of both amateur and professional musicians, as the commissioner, the works stay within reasonable technical and musical demands without being simplistic or dull. Instead, they open up new sonic landscapes, influenced by the Nordic environment."

"In Vaage's work 'Song of Solomon', the remarkable poetic power of the text is met by the composer's challenging task of creating an appropriate musical framework. The result is a unique harmony between words and tones, executed with perfection by the Collegiûm Mûsicûm, an ensemble of dedicated amateur and professional singers conducted by the experienced Eivind Gullberg Jensen (1972)." (freely translated from Spanish)

"This is a setting of excerpts from Solomon's Song of Songs, the biblical collection of poems the composer refers to as "a coherent and high-pitched tribute to love". Exotic sounds, a lyrical din of chirping piccolo flutes, squealing oboes, blaring trumpets and shrill strings that tear apart the soundscape. An intense nerve runs through this entire forty-minute long work, something that can be traced back both to Vaage's competent compositional craftsmanship and the flawless management of Eivind Gullberg Jensen."