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A Kaleidoscope / Peter Mattei

Mattei,Peter
Release Date: 03/29/2011 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1954   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Adolphe AdamCarl OrffPeter CorneliusGunnar Wennerberg,   ... 
Performer:  Bengt ForsbergPeter MatteiRoland PöntinenLove Derwinger,   ... 
Conductor:  Robert SundCecilia Rydinger AlinPaavo JärviGary Graden
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orphei DrängarKroumata Percussion EnsembleAllmänna Sången,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 17 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A taster plate of a magnificent voice.

Kaleidoscopes are often made with pieces of multicolored broken glass. In the case of this Kaleidoscope, the glass chips come from other BIS recordings with the baritone Peter Mattei: Christmas Music (BIS-CD-533), Stenhammar: Piano Concerto No.1 etc. (BIS-CD-550), Duruflé: Requiem (BIS-CD-602), Orff: Carmina Burana (BIS-CD-734), Bereden väg – Christmas Songs (BIS-NL-CD-5007) and Sounds of Sund (BIS-CD-5030). There are no new tracks here, and the best way to consume this album is to treat it as a sampler - a taster plate. Otherwise the collection would make no sense: it is too dispersed, from the most sacred to the
Read more most profane. The structure of the program is symmetrical, and goes in concentric circles, like the annual rings of a tree. It starts and ends with Latin excerpts from large works (Orff and Duruflé). In the next circle we see Christmas music. Oddly, Adam’s O Holy Night appears on both sides of the “annual ring”, once in French and once in Swedish, and so do The Three Kings by Cornelius – once in German and once in Swedish. The innermost circle is dedicated to secular songs of love and joy.

While the composition of the disc might seem odd, all parts have one thing in common: the magnificent baritone of Peter Mattei. His voice is very special indeed: very young-sounding, conveying the feeling of strength, resonantly ringing, smooth, never wobbly or too reverberant. Listening to him makes me want to buy all those original discs at once: so rare are both his instrument and his skill with it.

The disc opens with several excerpts from the piano-and-percussion reduction of Carmina Burana. I feel that some dimensions were lost in the projection. But even if we agree that the reduction of forces is an interesting experiment, and some loss of colors must be expected – still, there is something incongruous about this reading. This Carmina Burana is too operatic, too beautifully sung. You won’t laugh at this abbot from Cockaigne, but you’ll admire his singing: he sings too well to be drunk! The weary wisdom that Mattei expresses in Omnia sol temperat also comes as a surprise. On the other hand, Estuans interius is very powerful. In the closing (here) Tempus est iocundum, Mattei colors his voice with lustful glee, yet never overdoes it. Probably the last epithet one could ever apply to Carmina Burana is “elegant”, but this performance is elegant. A strange feeling, indeed!

The Christmas selections are mostly choral. Adam’s O Holy Night is deeply felt and powerful. Both versions follow the same arrangement, with a buttery murmuring organ. From the hushed start the music expands in space, reaching spectacular cosmic heights. Cornelius’ Three Kings are carol-like, warm and solemn, over an a capella background. Wennerberg’s Psalm 24 is jubilant and spiky, Mattei’s voice is vibrant, the chorus and the organ are energetic and sharp.

Earthly Love is the next theme. Stenhammar’s Florez and Blanzeflor is a large lyrical poem for voice and orchestra, made of soft Romantic fabric. Some its pages are jubilant, some are sad, but most are warm and tender. Nu har jag fått den jag vill ha (Now That I’ve Got the One I Want) by Olle Adolphson is a sad song about the love that faded. It stirs deep emotions. In Londonderry Air, the love still blossoms, and is full of awe, adoration, and serenity. All the joy and happiness of a meeting after a long separation with a loved one are expressed in another Adolphson song, Nu är det gott att leva (Now is the Time for Living). Its sparkling, swashbuckling waltz rocks like a happy swing. Helgdagskväll i timmerkojan (Evening in the Logging Camp) is another hearty waltz – or, rather, a Ländler. It sings the joys of camping in the wild with friends – and, I guess, with some good beer as well!

We are back to the Christmas theme with Giv mig ej glans (Give Me No Splendour) by Sibelius . It is a simple song, as warm and cozy as a quiet evening near a fireplace. The song by Liljefors is of similar mood and stature, tranquil and solemn. Härlig är jorden is purely choral; Mattei is not there at all. I don’t know why they decided to include this track, but it is beautifully sung by the children from Uppsala Musikklasser. It belongs to the family of “sweetened” Christmas songs, and throws an arch towards Londonderry Air.

The disc ends on the watercolor clouds of Maurice Duruflé. The excerpt from the Requiem has a spicy oriental flavor. It is static and transparent. The two parts from the Mass are orange-hued and vibrant. The reading is unhurried and genial.

So, my advice is – choose the theme that speaks the most to you personally, and buy the related disc(s) separately. It will be worth it. When people speak about great singers, they almost surely think about sopranos and tenors. Peter Mattei is a proof that there are marvels and wonders below the high C. The contribution of all choirs is excellent, but I especially want to praise the exemplary singing of the Orphei Drängar: very precise, very clear, and very expressive. The choral arrangements of the “middle numbers” by Robert Sund are diverse and attractive. The liner-note does not really say much, though it does it in English, Swedish, German and French. The Carmina Burana texts are only in English - no Latin, for some weird copyright reason. Other lyrics are in the original languages with English translations. And I don’t need to mention the excellent recording quality: it’s BIS.

-- Oleg Ledeniov, MusicWeb International

Full track listing: Carl ORFF (1895-1982)
From Carmina Burana (version for piano and percussion by Wilhelm Killmayer), Nos.4, 11, 13, 16, 18, 19, 22 [14:50]
Adolphe ADAM (1803-1856)
Cantique de Noël [4:16]
Peter CORNELIUS (1824-1874)
Die Könige [2:12]
Gunnar WENNERBERG (1817-1901)
Psalm 24 (Gören portarna höga) [2:52]
Wilhelm STENHAMMAR (1871-1927)
Florez och Blanzeflor, Op.3 (Ballad for baritone and orchestra) [8:19] Olle ADOLPHSON (1934-2004)
Nu har jag fått den jag vill ha [3:08]
Traditional
Londonderry Air [3:27]
Olle ADOLPHSON
Nu är det gott att leva [3:33]
Sven SCHOLANDER (1860-1936)
Helgdagskväll i timmerkojan [3:47]
Jean SIBELIUS (1865-1957)
Giv mig ej glans [3:39]
Peter CORNELIUS
Tre kungar [2:40]
Ruben LILJEFORS (1871-1936)
När det lider mot jul [2:48]
Traditional
Härlig är jorden [2:37]
Adolphe ADAM
Julsång [4:43]
Maurice DURUFLÉ (1902-1947)
Hostias et preces from Requiem Op.9, version for choir and organ [3:37]
Gloria and Benedictus from Missa cum jubilo Op.11, for unison male choir and organ [7:53]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Minuit, Chrétiens "O holy night" by Adolphe Adam
Performer:  Bengt Forsberg (Organ), Peter Mattei (Baritone)
Conductor:  Robert Sund
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orphei Drängar
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 
Length: 4 Minutes 22 Secs. 
2.
Carmina burana: no 4, Omnia sol temperat by Carl Orff
Performer:  Peter Mattei (Baritone), Roland Pöntinen (Piano), Love Derwinger (Piano)
Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kroumata Percussion Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 31 Secs. 
3.
Carmina burana: no 11, Estuans interius by Carl Orff
Performer:  Peter Mattei (Baritone), Roland Pöntinen (Piano), Love Derwinger (Piano)
Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kroumata Percussion Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 37 Secs. 
4.
Carmina burana: no 13, Ego sum abbas by Carl Orff
Performer:  Roland Pöntinen (Piano), Peter Mattei (Baritone), Love Derwinger (Piano)
Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Allmänna Sången,  Kroumata Percussion Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 55 Secs. 
5.
Carmina burana: no 16, Dies, nox et omnia by Carl Orff
Performer:  Love Derwinger (Piano), Roland Pöntinen (Piano), Peter Mattei (Voice)
Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kroumata Percussion Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 28 Secs. 
6.
Carmina burana: no 18, Circa mea pectora by Carl Orff
Performer:  Peter Mattei (Voice), Roland Pöntinen (Piano), Love Derwinger (Piano)
Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Allmänna Sången,  Kroumata Percussion Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 0 Secs. 
7.
Carmina burana: no 19, Si puer cum puellula by Carl Orff
Performer:  Roland Pöntinen (Piano), Peter Mattei (Voice), Love Derwinger (Piano)
Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Allmänna Sången,  Kroumata Percussion Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Germany 
Length: 1 Minutes 4 Secs. 
8.
Carmina burana: no 22, Tempus est iocundum by Carl Orff
Performer:  Love Derwinger (Piano), Lena Nordin (), Peter Mattei (Voice),
Roland Pöntinen (Piano)
Conductor:  Cecilia Rydinger Alin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Uppsala Musikklasser,  Allmänna Sången,  Kroumata Percussion Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 27 Secs. 
9.
Weihnachtslieder (6), Op. 8: no 3, Die Könige by Peter Cornelius
Performer:  Peter Mattei (Voice)
Conductor:  Robert Sund
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1856/1870; Weimar, Germany 
Length: 2 Minutes 18 Secs. 
10.
Psalm 24 "Gören portarna höga" ("Make High the Gates"), hymn by Gunnar Wennerberg
Performer:  Peter Mattei (Voice), Bengt Forsberg (Organ)
Conductor:  Robert Sund
Period: Romantic 
Length: 3 Minutes 0 Secs. 
11.
Florez and Blanzeflor, Op. 3 by Wilhelm Stenhammar
Performer:  Peter Mattei (Voice)
Conductor:  Paavo Järvi
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1891; Sweden 
Length: 8 Minutes 29 Secs. 
12.
Nu har jag fått den jag vill ha by Olle Adolphson
Performer:  Peter Mattei (Voice)
Conductor:  Robert Sund
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 3 Minutes 14 Secs. 
13.
Danny Boy "Londonderry Air" by Traditional
Performer:  Peter Mattei (Voice)
Conductor:  Robert Sund
Written: Ireland 
Length: 3 Minutes 34 Secs. 
14.
Nu är det gott att leva by Olle Adolphson
Performer:  Folke Alin (Piano), Peter Mattei (Voice)
Conductor:  Robert Sund
Period: Contemporary 
Length: 3 Minutes 41 Secs. 
15.
Helgdagskväll i timmerkojan, song by Sven Scholander
Performer:  Per Johansson (Double Bass), Peter Mattei (Voice), Anders Åstrand (Triangle),
Lars-Erik Lidström (Clarinet), Carl-Lennart Gustafsson (Accordion)
Conductor:  Robert Sund
Period: Post-Romantic 
Length: 4 Minutes 0 Secs. 
16.
Christmas Songs (5), Op. 1: no 4, Give me no splendour, gold or pomp by Jean Sibelius
Performer:  Peter Mattei (Voice), Andrew Canning (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1895-1909; Finland 
Length: 3 Minutes 46 Secs. 
17.
The Three Kings by Peter Cornelius
Performer:  Peter Mattei (Voice)
Period: Romantic 
Length: 2 Minutes 46 Secs. 
18.
När det lider mot jul (When Christmas Is Coming), song by Ruben Liljefors
Performer:  Peter Mattei (Voice), Andrew Canning (Organ)
Length: 2 Minutes 54 Secs. 
19.
Dejlig er jorden (or "Härlig är jorden"), carol (Danish) by Traditional
Performer:  Peter Mattei (Voice)
Length: 2 Minutes 42 Secs. 
20.
Requiem, Op. 9: Hostias et preces by Maurice Duruflé
Performer:  Peter Mattei (Voice), Mattias Wager (Organ)
Conductor:  Gary Graden
Length: 3 Minutes 43 Secs. 
21.
Mass "Cum jubilo", Op. 11: Gloria by Maurice Duruflé
Performer:  Peter Mattei (Voice), Mattias Wager (Organ)
Conductor:  Gary Graden
Length: 5 Minutes 38 Secs. 
22.
Mass "Cum jubilo", Op. 11: Benedictus by Maurice Duruflé
Performer:  Peter Mattei (Voice), Mattias Wager (Organ)
Conductor:  Gary Graden
Length: 2 Minutes 32 Secs. 
23.
Minuit, Chrétiens "O holy night" by Adolphe Adam
Performer:  Peter Mattei (Voice), Andrew Canning (Organ)
Period: Romantic 
Written: France 

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