Music for two violins. Fredrik Hagstedt’s ”Sinfonia per due violini” is a monumental work in 44 minutes written directly for the two violinists in Duo Gelland, with the intention to be played without pauses. It’s music that insists on your attention, without being obtrusive, as it moves between a romantic-expressionistic style and something I perceive as a stroke of folk music. It’s impressive and grand, but also music you want to listen to.
”Sinfonia…” has also been performed in combination with other art expressions, which isn’t surprising since it was written based on a film script by Johannes Nyholm. You will see a taste of these contexts and combinations in the film below, a film created by Keyvan Haghighi.
Duo Gelland and Fredrik Hagstedt have collaborated in various projects before, but the Sinfonia is one of the most extensive.
The cellist Aina Myrstener released the album “Cellomusik” two years ago, an album which received a lot of praise, and where she produces sounds from her instrument in every possible way. I missed it myself, but I’m glad I was notified about her fascinating music through her new track “Oriens”, relased yesterday as a taste of her upcoming album “Cellomusik II”. Here she squeezes out all the melancholy that resides in the beautiful cello tone in a pulsating, minimalistic tune which breathes of of mystique and dark secrets. To give you an idea of the width of her creativity with the cello, I’ve also added a track from the first album. “Cellomusik II” is scheduled for release on the 10th of June.
Normally we can hear Mats Almgren’s deep bass voice on the opera scene, often in a Wagner play. Here he’s thrown himself into a completely different context, though, by recording a collection of jazz standards, written in the 30’s and later. For the first time in nearly 20 years he also gets to collaborate with his two brothers, the jazz musicians Owe och Björn Almgren.
The combination of opera and jazz is hardly new; George Gerschwin proved that it works perfectly in “Porgy and Bess”. Still, many are sceptical when operasingers get into jazz, pop or rock, as we’ve heard some failed attempts from famous opera stars. Mats Almgren knows what he’s doing, though. He chose to look at crooner Billy Eckstine’s repertoire, a song collection which fits him quite well as Eckstine also had a deep and powerful voice, making the songs’ keys perfect for Almgren. Eckstine also had some operatic tendencies in his vocals when he sang, and had the power to be heard over an orchestra without a microphone, just like an opera singer.
Almgren creates his very own style from this, though. He breaks free from the opera’s precision very smoothly when he glides over the tones in a most natural way. He’s got a wonderful feeling for the material as he shows a dynamic in the songs where every word and sentence is filled with its own character and meaning. I think the most emotional songs are the slowest ones, like the starting “My Foolish Heart”, but there are no weak tracks here. Behind him is a band of skilled jazz musicians, who also get some space for their cool, inspired jazz, which makes the album feel even more vibrant. You hear his brothers Owe and Björn on bass and saxophone respectively, and also Sven-Eric ”Svenna” Dahlberg on piano and Göran Kroon on drums. Here are three songs from the album:
I wrote about Stefan Klaverdal and his interesting blend of classical music and electronica last year. Earlier this Autumn he realeased another album “Evocations”. Again it’s about this mix of beautiful stings and ambient components, where the electronic parts range from being subtle ingredients to being the main course of the song. It’s fascinating to listen through his album as it changes from beautiful melodic songs to pure ambience to more experimental songs where you can feel the friction. It’s of course quite personal how you will experience this music, but to me it gives me a sensation of a shifting Autumn, emphasized also by a slight melancholic tone and a richness of colours in the music. Here are two songs:
The duo Old Amica have been our guests several times before here on Meadowmusic. Now they are preparing to launch a new album, “Fabula”, on the 26th of March. “Old Oaken Pond” is the first glimpse of the album and beside their own special indie-sound there is a nostalgic vibe in this song, as the song title implies. A bit like if Hotennany Singers made a comeback and started playing folk indie.
Other People is an alias for the composer Jakob Lindhagen and his solo project. His new album is called “Somewhere Far Away”, an instrumental album focusing on Jakob’s minimalistic piano playing. Every tone seems carefully devised in these melancholic melodies, which sometimes are accompanied by a gentle cello or an ambient pad. The ambience and the melodies make me think of Björn J:son Lindhs “Bilder från en ö” and of music from some of the Swedish TV-drama series.
Up The Hill is a four man strong band, who so far have released an EP with six tracks. I can’t come up with a band to compare them with as they sound so special. Both in the way they mix their influences and in the way they build the songs. The soulful vocals is a strong characteristic of the songs, but in the end I feel that the songs still have a strong focus on the instrumental parts, where I hear progressive seventies’ vibes, Dire Straits-guitars, blues and folk indie. Quite dynamic songs which build up a strong groove sometimes. Here are two of them:
When the songwriter Jonas Lindsköld told me about the band On the Cinnamon’s debut single “Indecency”, he also wrote that they sound like their band name. I scratched my head and started wondering if he was referring to “Cinnamon Girl”, because there are certain Neil Young-vibes in the song: the simple sound, the guitars and the touch of Americana. But no, I found the explanation further down in the mail; the bandname was a direct translation of the Swedish expression “(att vara) på kanelen” (an old Swedish expression saying that someone is a bit drunk). I’m not quite sure how I should interpret this either as the song is a charming, warm and close pop song with a certain sheen of unpolished indie. And it fits quite well with the sunny, early-Spring weather we have here now.
Hurula is releasing another single from his upcoming album ”Vi är människorna våra föräldrar varnade oss för”. It’s called “22”, a punkish pop-melodic track with a great rough sound. I really like the chorus, and it’s the best song I’ve heard from Hurula so far.
Meadowmusic presents new music from many corners and edges of the world, but with a strong focus on Swedish music. Listen, read, watch, comment and share the music. All songs you find here on this page have been approved for publication by the artists and labels.