Search catalogue


Refractions - choral works by Berg, Webern, Valen & Messiaen

Composer Alban Berg
Olivier Messiaen
Fartein Valen
Anton Webern
Performer Berit Norbakken Solset
The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir
Norwegian Radio Orchestra (KORK)
Oslo Sinfonietta
Grete Pedersen, conductor
Period Modern
Catalogue Number BIS-1970 SACD
EAN 7318599919706
Format SACD Hybrid

This hybrid disc plays on both CD and SACD players
SACD Surround - SACD Stereo - CD Stereo

Release date Jan 2013
Total time 57'44

“An extraordinary voyage of discovery...” BBC Radio 3 CD Review
“5 Diapasons - Que ces solistes, individuellement et collectivement, sont impressionnants de son, de précision et de relief dans l'animations.” Diapason; “The Norwegian Soloists' Choir has long since evinced mastery across the broadest repertoire.” International Record Review; ”Messiaen’s Cinq rechants are magnificent.” Choir & Organ; “The ecstatic, tonality-bending music of the Norwegian Fartein Valen sits well with ethereal Webern plus better-known Messiaen, a challenge met by this fine choir.” BBC Music Magazine

The cause of mirages as well as rainbows, refraction is an optical phenomenon which under certain circumstances allows us to see objects that are actually hidden behind the horizon &&&– distant islands across a wide sea, or the sun before it has actually risen. The reason is that rays of light change direction as they pass from one layer of the atmosphere into another, or from one medium, such as air, into another, such as water. The same principle applies to sound waves, and in a sense one might say that music in the early 20th century did pass from one medium to another, from late Romanticism into an unknown future.
Refractions allows us to sample that transition in the field of choral music, through the prisms of four different temperaments – those of Alban Berg, Anton Webern and the Norwegian composer Fartein Valen, all born in the mid-1880s, and of the somewhat younger Olivier Messiaen. A number of the works are on sacred themes – including those by Valen – while others are at least nominally secular, although a spiritual dimension is often present. One instance of this is the celebrated Cinq rechants for twelve mixed voices, Messiaen’s fascinating musical expression of the Tristan myth in which love crosses the border between life and death – a mystical power that cannot be expressed in words.
Refractions is the fourth disc to appear on BIS with the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir and their conductor Grete Pedersen, and follow on Grieg interpretations ‘of breathtaking beauty’ (Le Monde de la Musique), a programme inspired by Norwegian folk music containing ‘some of the most striking and moving singing put down on disc for years’ (Gramophone), and most recently a disc of works by Brahms and Schubert, on which the choir, according to the reviewer for All Music Guide ‘sings with pristine intonation and purity, yet its tone is full, warm, and colourful.’
Choose format
  Fartein Valen
  Ave Maria, Op.4
01 Ave Maria, Op.4 5'26
  Olivier Messiaen
  Cinq rechants for 12 mixed voices a cappella (1948) 18'43
02 I. 4'38
03 II. 3'18
04 III. 4'17
05 IV. 2'36
06 V. 3'54
  Anton Webern
07 Entflieht auf leichten Kähnen, Op.2 2'43
  Anton von Webern
  Zwei Lieder, Op.19 2'02
08 1. Weiß wie Lilien. Lebhaft, leicht und frei 1'05
09 2. Ziehn die Schafe von der Wiese. Sehr gemächlich 0'57
  Fartein Valen
10 Hvad est du dog skiøn, Op.12 3'07
  Fartein Valen
11 Kom regn fra det høie, Op.25 3'28
  Alban Berg
12 Die Nachtigall 2'40
  Fartein Valen
13 Der 121. Psalm 12'40
  Olivier Messiaen
14 O sacrum convivium 5'14
  Album total 57'44
ComposerBerg, Alban
Messiaen, Olivier
Valen, Fartein
Webern, Anton
Webern, Anton von
ConductorPedersen, Grete
ChoirDet Norske Solistkor
OrchestraDet Norske Solistkor

© BIS Records AB | | Phone +46 (0)8 544 102-30 BIS online store - Terms and Conditions