This is the second installment of my series of posts on the remarkable Førde Festival in Norway. My first post showed some visual pyrotechnics from the Musicians of the Nile on opening night, but this post reveals some musical pyrotechnics of another kind, and they are QUITE Norwegian.
By the time I got to hear Ragnhild Furebotten, I had already heard how special she was, how I simply HAD to catch this ensemble of hers. I was told that she had incorporated a brass section with her fiddling, and that it had jazz elements in it. Well frankly, I don't generally find those kinds of descriptions inviting, but I was really knocked out by this presentation. Admittedly, I missed the first 15 minutes of the show, and so maybe I missed the jazz part, but I sure got plenty of delicious BRASS, and a touch of blues... and some musical humor to boot! I am crazy about baroque brass, and every time those trumpets came in with their cascading lines or quick punctuations, I was a happy gal. Personally I think there is more Telemann than 'Trane at work here.
About Ragnhild Furebotten: She has won just about every award that the Norwegian government can bestow, in recognition of both her talent on her instrument and her dedication to her musical heritage. Much of the repertoire that she is breathing new life into was learned from old cassettes, and in her introduction to this 2-part piece, she explains that it's possible that the tape she was learning from was not in such good shape! The arrangement by Helge Sunde, here playing the Trombonium, reflects this distinct possibility. The songs are: "Saltdal" (trad.) and "O venner som forsamlet er" -- O friends who are gathered (hymn).