Accordionist Frode Haltli is a musician we have admired tremendously for a long time, and we are proud to be releasing an album of his on the HUBRO label. Haltli has a unique ability to communicate, and seems to have a natural talent for swinging between a wide variety of musical styles. He can give life to “black page” music at contemporary music festivals one evening, and play with a bluegrass band the next – without stepping outside his musical comfort zone.
“Vagabonde Blu” is his fourth album under his own name, but his first true solo album. Here he presents works by Salvatore Sciarrino, Arne Nordheim and Aldo Clementi with a live audience in a room with such powerful and unusual acoustics that his playing is influenced by the room itself.
In 1926, artist Emanuel Vigeland (1875-1948) built a studio in his garden at Slemdal, Oslo. He intended it to function as a future museum for his sculptures and paintings, but he later bricked up the windows and decided that the building would serve as his own mausoleum. Vigeland’s urn rests above the low entrance door to Tomba Emmanuelle. “When your eyes get used to the darkness you can see the fantastic and grotesque fresco of life that covers the walls and ceiling in the vast, cold room. The massive acoustics produce a long and lively delay covering the entire register of sounds, and as a result it is nearly impossible to carry out a normal conversation. Silence usually prevails, because you instinctively whisper if you want to say something here,” writes Frode Haltli in the album’s cover notes. The hall has previously been used for recordings by Diamanda Galas, Huntsville, Susanne Sundfør and Stian Westerhus, among others.
“As a performer of primarily acoustic music, I always work together with the acoustics and the room. Here the room is such an active partner that it changes my music and my playing radically. I listen and wait, or I play offensively at the room so that it can be difficult to determine whether a sound is coming from the instrument, the echo, a combination of the two, or simply a member of the audience who accidentally touches his jacket. The acoustic performance is re-mixed live by a room.”
The two Italian composers Salvatore Sciarrino (b. 1947) and Aldo Clementi (1925-2011) were both born on Sicily. In Vagabonde blu (1998), Sciarrino undertakes a close study of tiny air and noise sounds, of notes and chords, and of glissandi and pianissimo. In the encounter with Vigeland’s room an extra dimension is added to the composition when the small, isolated events in the music are magnified by the acoustics.
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