Trondheim Soloists (TrondheimSolistene)

Reflections

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AllMusic Review by

Norway's 2L label has a strong track record of releases that combine sterling performances with novel programming and top-flight engineering. Often, as here, they are accompanied by Blu-ray discs that bring the listener right up to the edge of being at the venue. Some might find the sonic ambience of Norway's Selbu Church a bit chilly for these secular pieces, but the engineering captures the detailed string work of the TrondheimSolistene (Trondheim Soloists) well. This triply Grammy-nominated album received nods in both engineering and performance categories (Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance), and it is perhaps the latter where it really stands out. The program puts together three works that take the neoclassic impulse in different directions, and the conductorless TrondheimSolistene deliver sharp, novel readings of each work. Partly the individual lines stand out because of the group's unusual circular seating, but there is an edge to the music that would be present regardless. Sample the most familiar of the three pieces, the Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis of Ralph Vaughn Williams: this is a moody, rather passionate reading that seems to exude the spirit of the English moor. Benjamin Britten's Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge is a romp through a sequence of neo-Baroque forms, and Stravinsky's Apollon Musagète (also known simply as "Apollo") is a set of rather sly portraits of the muses from Greek antiquity. George Balanchine's comment that when he heard this work all he could see was pristine white will probably not apply to the TrondheimSolistene's performance, which seems to get into Stravinsky's head and bring out a multitude of small surprises and sometimes humorous details. A superb performance and joining together of some 20th century pieces that all too often seem lifeless.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge for String Orchestra (Op. 10)
1 1:54
2 2:10
3 1:03
4 1:37
5 1:16
6 1:18
7 2:30
8 1:05
9 3:36
10 1:38
11 7:08
12 14:45
Apollon Musagète
13 4:58
14 2:35
15 4:19
16 1:24
17 1:23
18 1:40
19 2:20
20 4:05
21 3:24
22 3:55

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge for String Orchestra (Op. 10)
1 1:54
2 2:10
3 1:03
4 1:37
5 1:16
6 1:18
7 2:30
8 1:05
9 3:36
10 1:38
11 7:08
12 14:45
Apollon Musagète
13 4:58
14 2:35
15 4:19
16 1:24
17 1:23
18 1:40
19 2:20
20 4:05
21 3:24
22 3:55
blue highlight denotes track pick