tue 23/04/2019

Norway

Saga's odours, Sara's jumpers, Birgitte's bloke

How come there is always a free parking space right outside the police station’s front door as Saga Norén draws up? If she has malodourous armpits, what must her manky leather trousers smell like? What does her partner in investigation Martin Rohde...

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theartsdesk in Oslo: Pushing folk’s frontiers

Four days in Norway’s capital attending Folkelarm, the festival of Nordic folk music, raises the perennial and always knotty question of how far music can move beyond the traditional yet still be labelled as folk? With the charming and reassuringly...

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The Seckerson Tapes: Fidelio in Bergen

In the listening room of Grieg Hall, Bergen, a concert hall sometimes masquerading as a theatre and vice versa, I talk to Mary Miller, director of Bergen National Opera, and Andrew Litton, music director of the venerable Bergen Philharmonic...

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Prom 69: Hadland, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Petrenko

May I be permitted a rude, opinionated intermezzo between reflections on Vasily Petrenko’s two Oslo Philharmonic Proms, and before Marin Alsop steps up to great expectations for the Last Night? Here’s another Russian in trouble, not for keeping mum...

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Prom 68: Skride, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Petrenko

The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra made quite a splash with their Tchaikovsky symphony series under Mariss Jansons back in the 1980s. The watchwords then were freshness and articulation, a re-establishment of Tchaikovsky’s innate classicism - and so it...

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theartsdesk in Stavanger: A touch of Fröst

Three great pianists, one of the world’s top clarinettists and two fine string players in a single concert: it’s what you might expect from a chamber music festival at the highest level. What I wasn’t anticipating on the first evening in Stavanger...

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theartsdesk in Bodø: a World of Music inside the Arctic Circle

“Rock ‘n’ roll was invented in Bodø about 1922,” declares Elvis Costello before kicking into “A Slow Drag With Josephine”. “Then it crept down to Trondheim,” he continues. “Then the squares in Oslo got it about 1952.” Up here, 25km inside the Arctic...

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Just in From Scandinavia: Nordic Music Round-Up 8

Characterising a country’s music by its most successful exports or what seem to be typical local styles is inevitable. With Iceland, the home of Björk and Sigur Rós, it’s easy to assume that ethereality, otherworldliness and plain oddness rule the...

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theartsdesk in Røros, Norway: Fiddles and Slag Heaps

It’s just before midnight on Friday. A few hundred couples circle the floor of a school gym. On stage, violinists play a rhythmic music which cycles repetitively. Coloured with sad, minor notes, it sounds like a stately ancestor to bluegrass. Hands...

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theartsdesk in Oslo: Trumpets sound for Munch

Back in the 19th century it was violinist Ole Bull who put Norway on the musical map, likened by Schumann to Paganini and celebrated across Europe for his supreme virtuosity. More recently pianist Leif Ove Andsnes has emerged as the nation’s...

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War Requiem, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Litton, Bergen International Festival

In Bergen’s Grieg Hall (one is tempted to say the Hall of the Mountain King) the 2013 Bergen Festival concludes with the mournful tolling of bells. A consonant “Amen”, like a healing benediction, is the last word and with it comes perhaps a glimmer...

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Public Enemy, Young Vic

Everything seems so free and easy, so do-as-you-darn-well-pleasey, in the Stockmanns’ fjord-view model home. Cheery friends in bright 1970s clothes drop in to chew the social cud as well as Mrs S’s cooking; only her medical-officer husband’s mayoral...

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