KETIL HVOSLEF (b.1939): Chamber Works, Vol. 5 - Perpetuum Trompetuum, Trio for Oboe, Viola and Percussion, Trio V.C.P. for Violin, Horn and Piano, Kammerspill.
Catalogue Number: 10U061
Label: LAWO Classics
Description: It's always fun when a new volume in this exceedingly valuable and varied series appears; what kind of quirky, off-kilter shenanigans will we get this time? Well, in Perpetuum Trumpetuum, a continuous 'wavy line' of steady eighth-notes sets up the constant motion machine, while the trumpet, and sometimes the pianist's other hand, contribute events, at first locked to the punched tape of this musical Rube Goldberg machine, but subsequently attempting to spread rhapsodic wings. The two Trios highlight Hvoslef's penchant for unusual, counter-intuitive instrumental combinations that he inexplicably makes work. The usual Hvoslef trademarks are here; the little tonal phrases, repeated and not quite repeated in clockwork meters; the polished, open, uncluttered textures; the playful humour which can easily turn sinister or suddenly emotional. The trio with oboe uses a Mediæval Icelandic melody, mysterious and archaic, which draws a sinuous thread through the second half of the piece, having only been heard in full once. The trio with horn has the three disparate instruments present their own material, respectfully listened to by the others; they then embark on a series of conversations, games and imitative story-telling, finishing one anothers' sentences, as it were. 'Chamber Play' is a Kafkaesque fantasy - apparently its inspiration was some sort of bureaucratic scandal involving the Bergen police department - in which little grey phrases scurry about in the corridors of an infinite maze, slaves to the ticking, mechanical rhythms that rule their lives. This is Hvoslef's musical humor at its best; sharp, witty - and tinged with nightmare. Various artists.