Notre Dame

Meditations & Prayers

Notre Dame
  • Meditations & Prayers
  • Released: 2020
  • Artwork: Paysage Norwegiene by Ibrahim Jalal
  • Cover Design: Design Holtmann

Notre Dame 01:48
Reflection I 04:11
Psalm 1 01:38
Reflection II 06:18
Psalm 2 01:15
Reflection III 02:58
Du som låg i natti seine 01:23
Reflection IV 04:29
Meditation 04:35
Reflection V – Psalm 3 05:20
The Boy's Lament for his Dragon 03:21
Afterthought 03:14
Prayer 06:10

Meditations & Prayers builds on free improvisation, inspirations of Indian ragas, prayers and corals based on Nordic hymns and folk tunes:

Track 1:  A catholic recital heard at a Vesper in Notre Dame 2015
Track 2 & 3: Ingen vinner frem til den evige ro (trad. Hallingdal)
Track 4 & 5:  Det hev ei rose sprunge (M.Praetorius)
Track 6 & 10: Jeg råde vil alle i ungdommens dage (trad. Romsdal)
Track 7: Du som låg i natti seine (R.Karlsen)
Track 8: Om kvelden når det mørkner/Gangløysa (trad. Hornindal)
Track 9: Meditation (Viddal)
Track 11: The Boy’s Lament for his Dragon (trad. Scottish)
Track 12: O bli hos meg (W.H.Monk)
Track 13: Prayer (Viddal/Aaserud)

Mathilde Grooss Viddal Bass- and Bb clarinet, soprano and tenor saxophone
Hayden Powell Trumpet
Børge-Are Halvorsen Tenor saxophone
Øyvind Brække Trombone
Per Willy Aaserud Trumpet, Electronics (1, 7, 13)

Viddals kvartett skapar ein unik ensembleklang. ... Høgdepunktet er den pulserande "Reflections II" som raskt hintar mot "Det hev ei Rosa sprunge". Denne salmen følgjer så i eit aldeles utsøkt arrangement. Dette er musikk for mørke kveldar.

- Lars Mossefinn, Dag & Tid

Listening to Mathilde Grooss Viddal’s Meditations and Prayers, the listener may well feel there is a timeless quality to the music. The majority of the tracks are entitled “Reflection” and “Psalm,” and these two dimensions come together on “Reflection V – Psalm 3.” These references to meditation and afterthought are also explorations of musical material, some of which has its origin centuries ago. The musicians explore this material in a soft-spoken, but at the same time intense, manner. Soft-spoken is obviously not quite the right term, as there is no speech here, although there is communication. The musical voices establish something deeply meaningful. And I can only guess that those listeners who recognize the songs used, will relate the meanings of the music with the non-heard lyrics of tradition.

That the source-material is, so to speak, hidden in the music, makes sense in this context. The hymns and folk-songs, be it “Ingen vinner frem til den evige ro,”  “Det hev ei rose sprunge” (Es ist ein Ros entsprungen), “Om kvelden når det mørkner,” “Jeg råde vil alle i ungdommens dage,” or “O bli hos meg” (Abide with Me), are not here as singular compositions, but as traces of the past, as a sonic archive being reenacted, showing how the past is with us, how heritage is part of who we are, and how contemplating the past – making connections with the past – is not about striving towards something timeless, but about acting in the here and now, using the past to inform our present.

Much of the album was recorded in legendary Rainbow Studio in Oslo in collaboration with Jan Erik Kongshaug. The framing of the album, however, was recorded in Færvik kirke, a wooden church on the island of Tromøya, where Viddal’s foremothers where waiting for heir husbands, sons, and brothers to come home from the sea. In many ways, the album feels like one long sermon, where different nuances of thought are hinted at, giving ample room for the listener to sink back into her own thoughts and reactions. Here, too, the echo of tradition gives depth to a feeling of timelessness, of being connected to foremothers and forefathers, of listening to history and tradition.

There is a long tradition of relating breath with spirit or soul in Greek “pneuma” and Hebrew “ruach.” Given this tradition, it makes sense listening to wind instruments (both woodwinds and brass), as in a particular way related to the human condition, as a way of giving sound to our basic humanness, breathing soul into the world. On this album, the instruments are affirming a core of human existence, giving us as listeners space to listen and mediate on our place in the world, a place where the echoes of past days are still here, and can be heard at each and every reiterations of a music with a long history, a music that in one sense is old, but in another sense is always also current.