Seven years after it’s premiere, Henrik Ødegaard Beatitudes is set for an album release on Simax Classics.
Beatitudes feels like a journey - both across the world and through the centuries. The works’ lyrical origin is the Beatitudes as presented in the Gospel of Matthew.
On this record, Ødegaaard is joined by Oslo Chamber Choir, the vocal sextet Nordic Voices, and conductor Håkon Nystedt, who all were a part of the original performance. It started as performance on commission from the Oslo International Church Festival in 2013, and was rewarded with critical acclaim for it’s beauty, emotion, lyrics, and pure talent by some of Norways most regarded newspapers.
To put the 2000 year old text in relief, it’s commented by lyrics from the 20th century in an array of languages. Professor Jan Erik Rekdal is a lyricist, translator and literary expert, and has processed these lyrics. Beatitudes contains songs and lyrics by Pablo Neruda, the greek autoht Konstantinos P. Kavafis, the German speaking Romanian lyricist Paul Celan, Jean Jouve, Gunnar Bjørling, and Norwegian author Gunvor Hofmo. In these words, we hear voices from prosecuted jews, patients at mental institutions, the sick and elderly, the one who longs for death, and the one who longs for beauty and light.
The biblical texts are sung by the choir in latin, something that - in a sense - gives Ødegaard as a composer some creative distance. The commentating texts are sung by Nordic Voices, and the tonal language varies vastly from song to song.
– My motivation for this recording is first and foremost to document and put one of my greatest works till now out there, as well as showing a bigger audience the magnificent ensembles in both Nordic Voices and the Oslo Chamber Choir, Ødegaard says.
Links to the album: Beatitudes