November 2002
Classical Music - BBC Music Magazine

The Medieval Inspiration


Wolfgang Plagge

Liber Sequentiarum; Sonata
for Trumpet and Piano; Solarljod.

Solveig Kringelborn (soprano)
Ole Edvard Antonsen (trumpet)
Wolfgang Plagge (piano)

Instrumental / Vocal



Label: 2L
ID: 2L5
48:49 mins
distr. Musikkoperatørene [WW]
distr. Seaford Music [UK]

True it may be, as historian David Starkey announced on TV not long ago, that we are still living with the effects of the Reformation. If so, could he please explain this phenomenon: a set of pieces for soprano and trumpet, the Liber Sequentiarum, based on Gregorian chant, revived in homage to the Norwegian pre-Reformation repertoire of that music (all but lost), with a bit of New-Age thrown in for comfort (hence the "Nova"), and sounding like middle-aged Hindemith!

Composer and pianist Wolfgang Plagge is the man responsible, and even as if first his homage sounds hybrid, you might just get to like it. The chromatic trumpet lines of the Liber would have gained full marks from Hindemith for their workmanship, not least for their graceful integration with the modality of the original chants, as sung by soprano Solveig Kringelborn. In the responsorial style alternations of the Sonata for Trumpet and Piano, timeflow itself is apparently under scrutiny, according to the composer's programme notes. Certainly, however, with trumpet player Ole Edvard Antonsen's artistry to admire, time passes well enough, as it does in the atmospheric song-cycle on the medieval Norse text, Solarljod, sung by Solveig Kringelborn with the composer himself as efficient accompanist.

Nicholas Williams