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Osten Mikal Ore  : Lyrical Songs for Mezzo Soprano and Guitar : Bergmann

Osten Mikal Ore

Bergmann Edition: 20 pages


The lyrics for these five songs all come from a collection of poems by Piet Hein (1905 – 1996) published in 1985 called ‘Hjertets Lyre –kaerlighedsdigte og – gruk’(Lyre of the Heart – love poems and sayings).Designed to be performed as a complete set, they are alternately in Danish and English.

The immediate thing that you spot is how much harmonics are used in all five of the pieces, as they are literally all over the entire set, sometimes singular but more often combined in unusual groupings along with ordinary notes. The word used in the Preface that really does give the reader an idea about them is ‘Whimsical’. They are short, and totally original in style and like nothing you may have heard before. The musical language is very modern but still friendly in its harmonies.

Roser Og Vin (Roses and Wine) has a great deal of campanella on the guitar and although the guitar part is in two voices throughout, the unusual musical lines need to be carefully read to get the right effect. The singer’s part is slightly more than an octave from a C#, above middle C, to the D an octave and a semi- tone higher up.

What Love is Like is only 14 bars long, and has a guitar part full of active semi – quavers with plenty of accidentals, while the singer’s part has literally only 14 notes in its entire length, and consists of ‘ Love is like a pineapple, sweet and undefinable !’

Vers pa Vaeggen (Fresh from the field) again has a very individual feel on the guitar part; full of harmonics, as well as playing a chord by the tuning knobs intermingled with a tremolando chord.

I & O is in 7/4 has a guitar part largely consisting of solo notes with only the odd harmony work towards the end .It is again only 18 bars in length (not including repeat sections) , and the singer’s part finishes at bar 7 b, leaving the remainder to be played by the guitarist as a solo.

The final piece Skal – Skal Ikke (Must – must not) is in a mixture of 7/8 and 6/8 and is more animated than much that has gone before, but is yet again full of unusual groupings of notes that will seem very individual to the performers. The ending itself is unusual with the singer producing a noise that goes from ppp to f over three bars , while the guitarist does a thumb nail scratch finishing with a L.H golpe.

Altogether this is a most unusual set of pieces, all over in a small number of minutes but occupying a very strange sound world indeed and requiring a very competent duo to do them full justice.



Chris Dumigan

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