|Cambria Master Recordings ..........CD 1117
The Arnaeus Ensemble
1. "From the Rainbow"
for String Ensemble (3 vlns, vla, vc, db) and two childrens voices (spoken)
Poem by Dorette Egilsson. In memory of children, victims of violence.
2. "Tale Of Yore"
In olden style for String Quintet and piano (2 vlns, vla, vc, db and piano)
3. "Sextet Pacifica"
Commissioned by the Pacific Serenades Chamber series for String Sextet (2 vln, 2 vla, 2 vc)
for String Quintet (2 vln, vla, vc, db)
Bassist, composer and bon vivant Arni Egilsson continues to bestow blessings to the musical community in the form of powerful, interesting, and message laden chamber works. The quintet and three sextets, which make up this project, all have strong programmatic and personal signatures - a kind of "From Ma Vlast" for Mr. Egilsson. Egilsson is completely unencombered by stylistic idioms and moves easily, compositionally, through the last three centuries of European influences. He also has developed a personal language that has assimilated comtemporary music influences, most notably, jazz.
The title work From the Rainbow is a tone poem, a lament for the children of the world who suffer from violence. It is based on a poem by Dorette Egilsson, which is recited by a boy and girl several minutes into the twenty-two minute piece. The children's voices conclude the work, which is very moving. The music ranges from somber to raging in expression, and in some ways, recalls works of this century's turning point, such as Transfigured Night by Schoenberg. It is virtuosic and features cadenzas and solo writing for several members of the sextet, including the double bass. It is scored for three violins, viola, cello, and bass. Egilsson plays his role in this musical drama with passion and convictions, as do the other members, which include Endre Granat, first violin, Rachel Purkin, second violin, Richard Altenbach, third violin, Roland Kato, viola, and David Speitz, cello. The stirring narration is by Anya Karlin and Alexander Ossi Osvaldsson. Dorette and Arni Egilsson dedicate this work "to the memory of those children that have fallen victim to violence."
A Tale of Yore is a decidedly lighter offering. It is a quasi-Baroque romp for string quartet, bass and piano. Janet Lakatos assumes the viola duties and Douglas D?avis plays cello with Chet Swiatkowski who performs the piano part. Sextet Pacifica was commissioned by Pacific Serenades. It is a fifteen-minute, single movement work for pairs of violins, violas and cellos. Isabella Lippi plays the first violin part which features extensive solo material. Roger Wilkie is the second violin. Kato and Connie Kupa are the violists, and Speltz and Paul Cohen are the cellists. Egilsson writes, "Like the region we live in and love, the work is on the positive and bright side without being lighthearted." The CD concludes with an introspective work, Impressions for string quartet and bass. Egilsson wrote this work while pondering his own life, and those questions relating to life's journey. It contains musical parallels to Egilsson's own journey. While it traverses the ups and downs, the brooding, as well as the exultant, it remains optimistic: "The dreams and anxieties, the need to break away from the statis quo...only to return to reality with a joke and a whimper."
Review by Tom Knific
"The works are very beautiful and dramatic, compositionally clear and well constructed, the workmanship is first rate and the playing simply could not be better. I urge others to give this beautiful music a listen!"
"Features some imaginative, virtuosic playing by the Arnaeus Ensemble, in which first violinist, Endré Granat is outstanding......flexible of personel, the Arnaeus Ensemble aquits itself here splendidly in all its various combinations. The numerous mood changes og Egilsson´s one-movement "Sextet Pacifica" are admirably characterized by a wide range of expression and timbres; and its spirited account of his attractive, accessable "A Tale of Yore" seems just right for this carefree fun piece in a popularised Baroque idiom, intended to describe pleasant memories of yesteryear"