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Kleiberg: David & Bathsheba

Einarsson; Weisser; Sodal; Akselberg; Brissman
Trondheim SO & Vocal Ensemble/Kaliuste

2 L - 084 - SABD

Ståle Kleiberg's Opera-Oratorio (2008) tells of the flawed David's abuse of political power, the seduction of Bathsheba and betrayal of Uriah.

It combines immediacy of expression with originality and sure craftsmanship. Kleiberg’s music is characterised by a form of extended tonality and by coloristic details, neither modernist nor unduly simplistic; more opera than oratorio.

The drama is well paced, with David's build up from fancy to lust and later to the murder of Bathsheba's husband Uriah who had refused to cover up for him. it is a complex Biblical tale, one with various interpretations. All the singers do justice to their parts and the choruses are important in progressing the story. The non-naturalistic but accessible music helps to raise the drama to the realmof myth.

The booklet is comprehensive, with the libretto of Jessica Gordon given and sung in in English, with the full English text worth reading whilst listening and generous session photos.

For opera lovers, this release may be the first introduction to the 2L label, one which challenges usual recording techniques, often with musicians placed centrally, in circles, and in large auditoria for ideal natural sound, in this case the Frikirken of Trondheim.

The box contains two versions, one Blu-Ray and the other normal Hybrid SACD for listeners who don't have Blu-ray equiment yet. 2L's double discs are sold as two-for-the-price-of-one.

Recommended to opera lovers and all interested in Scandinavian contemporary music.

Peter Grahame Woolf.