Vagabonde Blu


Accordionist Frode 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. The hall has previously been used for recordings by Diamanda Galas, Huntsville, Susanne Sundfor 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 in 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. Simple, two-voiced variations of a modal theme are repeated again and again, while the dynamics and tempo are gradually reduced, like a long lullaby that accompanies a child into sleep. Haltli has been playing "Flashing" (1985) by Arne Nordheim (1931-2010) since he was a teenager. In Tomba Emmanuelle, Nordheim's solo work "Flashing" is transformed into a nearly electronic-sounding piece of music.