KJELL MØRK KARLSEN (b.1947): St. Luke Passion.
Catalogue Number: 08O080
Label: LAWO Classics
Reference: LWC 1020
Description: Karlsen's approach to the Passion story is to integrate several different textual sources, each associated with a noticeably different musical style; these are presented not as contradictory æsthetics, however, but as complementary commentaries from he viewpoint of the dramatic and the liturgical. Episodes of the Gospel text are recited over a subtle organ accompaniment, sometimes echoing plainchant and sometimes more modern and dissonant. The recitation is in dramatic style, and carries the narrative, which is then amplified by allowing the organ material to effloresce into harmonically rich concert music, often with a distinct flavor of Messiaen (there may come a time when this is no longer a required statement about contemporary organ music, but that time is not yet here). By contrast, the vocal sections with choir and soloists set Latin hymns relevant to the Crucifixion, and the music here is more conventionally tonal, with masterful polyphony clearly referencing the Renaissance, and plainchant of the Roman and Orthodox churches, although at key points the composer skillfully upsets expectations with the interpolation of dissonances very much of our time. From these apparently disparate elements, Karlsen has assembled a remarkably compelling and powerful account of the Passion, both emotionally and spiritually satisfying. 2 CDs. Bergen Cathedral Choir; Magnar Mangersnes.