Oystein Baadsvik, Trondheim Symfoniorkester, Cantus - Snowflakes: A Classical Christmas

Published Monday 14th November 2011
Oystein Baadsvik, Trondheim Symfoniorkester, Cantus - Snowflakes: A Classical Christmas
Oystein Baadsvik, Trondheim Symfoniorkester, Cantus - Snowflakes: A Classical Christmas

STYLE: Classical
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

Oystein Baadsvik is the only tuba player in the world to have made a career as a full-time soloist and his CV is truly impressive. If you love the tuba then this is probably recommendation enough; if you are yet to be convinced then read on. On some songs the tuba takes the melody line and if you know the words you will hear them; if you do not know them then you can just enjoy the tune. "Cantique de Noel" is a standout example of this. On other pieces the tuba is featured without dominating and there are some very imaginative orchestral arrangements with vocals from the female Cantus choir from Trondheim in Norway. "Ding Dong Merrily On High", "God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen", "Mary's Boy Child" and "When You Wish Upon A Star" need no introduction although the latter title probably needs explanation: yes, it is the Disney classic from Pinocchio and it is, apparently, a popular Christmas song in Nordic countries. We do verge perilously close to schmaltz in places but the good humoured arrangements and sheer musical virtuosity bring us back from the brink. Also, there are many less obvious selections - or, to be clear - less obvious to those of us who are not from Scandinavia. Eatnemen Vuelie" is a traditional Sami (Lapland) song which composer Frode Fjellheim has segued with "Fairest Lord Jesus" to great effect. Baadsvik's own composition "Snofnugg" ("Snowflakes") fuses traditional Norwegian folk elements with the sounds of a didgeridoo and beat-box, both played on the tuba. It's that sort of album.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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