in Reviews

Text-sensitive tone-painting

by Mats Liljeroos

The aesthetic pluralism represented here is remarkable; Bergman pushes the envelope of musical expression. Matti Hyökki, with a group of professional singers, masters even the trickiest passages with aplomb.

Erik Bergman has fallen into partial obscurity since his death ten years ago, and it is therefore all the more gratifying that Alba has released this triple CD of works for male choir. After all, the choir plays a key role in many of his most powerful works, whether a cappella or accompanied. Both genres are represented here, and in all the works we find the humourist, lyricist, mystic and magician in full command of his text-sensitive tone-painting.

Wisely enough, the works are not arranged in chronological order; the decades meet and clash, while Bergman’s literary sensibility is shown to have been superb at all times. We come across writers such as Fröding, Södergran, Lagerkvist and Solveig von Schoultz as well as the Edda, the book of Isaiah and Buddhist texts.

But this set begs the question: why not record Bergman’s complete music for male choir? The 15 or so works that are missing here could easily have been accommodated by adding another CD to make this a package of four.

Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi


BERGMAN: Bergmaniana
Music for male voice choir
Bergmania ensemble, cond. Matti Hyökki
Alba ABCD 392:1-3