Flute Sonata No.1 Op.40, Violin Sonata No.1 Op.50 and Waltz of the Queen Op.4a are among the works featured on SEASONS OF LIFE. Flautist Tom Ottar Andreassen, violinist Håvard Daae Rognli and pianist Wolfgang Plagge present a wide spectrum of dynamics and expressions. Producer is composer Flint Juventino Beppe.
One can perhaps say that Violin Sonata No.1 Op.50 (1999) embraces powerful energy, contemplative passages and a wide spectrum of emotions. 1999 was a very productive year for Beppe, and this sonata came to life as a consequence of yet another meeting with nature and with Beppe's secret muse; two ingredients that are always present in his works. A tranquil start of the second movement follows the dynamic and heavy first movement, before the solo violin and piano together produce a fanfare-like finale in the third and last movement. Beppe says he always feels he writes for an orchestra even though only a few instruments (or even just one) are present in a composition. This sonata is no exception.
In the lyric duet for flute and piano, High Mountains of Music Op.8 (1992), «Polar Nights» are like icy fairytales. Imagine being in a dark, yet starry, frozen landscape so quiet that the elements become very tangible. You can hear the silence, see the invisible mood and smell the odourless ice crystals! You are frozen in time. «Northern Lights», the Aurora Borealis, is erratic, seductive and hypnotic. She lures you in, invites you to stare at her, only to disappear as quickly as she materialized.
When 18 years old, Beppe made a musical journey into an unknown, blue dimension that he named People of Blue Dimension Op.4a (1991). Perhaps you can sense such a dream-like dimension yourself sometimes? The blue dimension has its own queen, Knymara, who gracefully introduces us to the first of the eight moods creating this blue sphere: «Waltz of the Queen». Then follow «Absent Brain», «Nudification», «Unsteady Course», «Intermezzo», «Persecution Mania», «Crushing the Giant» and «Resignation». You will recognize the queen's appearance by the recurrent waltz theme in «Waltz of the Queen», «Intermezzo» and «Resignation». The tranquil movement «Nudification» is a 12-tone piece, written secretly during a maths class in upper secondary school. People of Blue Dimension also exists in a version for symphony orchestra, Op.4b.
With Cookery Book of Kornåld Op.7 (1992) we welcome you to a surreal gastronomic experience! What would your day look like if food was suddenly given human features? Say hello to «Furious Meat», greet the «Siamese Cabbage», make way for «Born to be Popcorn», where you can actually hear why the popcorn was born to become exactly that, and finally, try to catch up with the «Running Fish Cake»! Nevertheless, as always with Beppe's works, the surreal and seemingly humorous titles can be deceptive. There are always many deep layers in the music, and any quasi-cheerful title is really just a surrealistic challenge to the listener's mind-set.
As with Op.7, much of Beppe's music has programmatic titles in order to provide the listener with some sort of clue. However, the music itself is not programmatic, and it should certainly not be interpreted as illustrating a particular landscape or telling a specific story. Such a clue is not present in Flute Sonata No.1 Op.40 (1998). Even so, the unification of nature, space and time and, again, Beppe's secret muse is highly detectable in this piece. With several virtuoso passages for both instruments, as well as a many-layered depth, the flute sonata is both technically and intellectually challenging for the performers. «Moderato» opens the sonata with a clear melodic flute theme that develops throughout the movement, underpinned by the presence of a constant distinctive rhythm in the piano. In the end of the tranquil second movement, «Adagio», the flute suddenly plays, fairly loud, the relatively rarely used tone high D, before building up to «Presto», the intense finale. Here, the high-tempo polyrhythmic passages in both flute and piano create a considerable, propelling sensation, ending up in an orchestral-like climax. This flute sonata is also featured in the film VICINO ALLA MONTAGNA, directed by Beppe.
Beppe wrote Seasons of Life Op.2 (1991) when going through a very changeable and dynamic phase of his life. He was 17 at the time, and the breach with his childhood religion led to years of mental instability. His meeting with psychiatry was futile and exasperating, as he was never diagnosed correctly. 20 years later, it finally became clear that Beppe had Tourette's and Asperger's syndrome, and that this was what he had been wrestling with all his life. This work is in many ways the manifesto of a person in deep despair, but still having music flowing through his veins all the time as a comforting friend. Through the four movements, Beppe has depicted «Life in Development», «Life in Prosperity», «Life in Desperation» and «Life in Coldness» as his very own Seasons of Life; thus giving this album its name.
The intense pain of a parting cannot be measured in words. The whispering wounds are always there, and you are reminded of what could have been, if only... Perhaps one day; perhaps. With the themes written in 1994, this is another lyric duet for flute and piano. The first movement has a polyrhythmic foundation with an ethereal main motive consisting of triplets and quintuplets. The second movement embraces one of Beppe's most touching and melodic themes, a theme which is also used in the symphonic poem Theh Goldest Op.27. Parting Op.20b (1994) ends with a long-lasting, special bass chord on the piano. After this tranquil, pensive and haunting ending of the album, we leave it to the silence to take over the stage. Pianist Wolfgang Plagge presents a wide spectrum of dynamics and expressions. Producer is composer Flint Juventino Beppe.
Flint Juventino Beppe has given the world yet another timeless classic piece with Flute Sonata No.1 Op.40 and should be heralded for his tremendous effort and choice of musicians for this grand masterpiece!
Gods of Music