Shades & Contrasts by Christina Sandsengen
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Copyright: Odradek Records
Artist Website: christinasandsengen.com
Carlo Domeniconi: Koyunbaba (Suite Op. 19)
Isaac Albéniz: Mallorca Op. 22
Isaac Albéniz: Asturias (from Suite Española, Op. 47)
Francisco Tárrega: Lágrima
Anonymous: Spanish Romance
Sven Lundestad: Late At Night
Dionisio Aguado: Andante & Rondo
Agustín Barrios Mangoré: La Catedral
Egberto Gismonti: Água e Vinho
Christina’s statement on the album:
Shades and Contrasts
Classical guitar is the key to my unconscious world of emotions, where I explore the contrasts and shades of life. If a piece moves and captures me while hearing it, I feel compelled to play it, as if I had some special bond to it even before seeing the score.
All of the works on this CD have given me this feeling. All of them, even the ones which are not from the Romantic period, are romantic pieces, with dreamy and mystical atmospheres, typically colorful soundscapes, and express such a wide range of sentiments that altogether they form into a something like my personal emotional journal.
“Koyunbaba” captivates me with its wide spectrum of feelings and Turkish folk spirit, “Asturias” with the tension caused by the expressive buildup contained in its tight rhythms, and “Mallorca” for its sad melody with that faint touch of hope in it. In “Lagrima” and “La Catedral” I dwell in sorrow. Meanwhile “Late At Night”, by my compatriot Norwegian guitar professor Sven Lundestad, dedicated to his friend and colleague at the Norwegian Academy of Music, Geir Otto Nilsson, is so calm and relaxing it is like a light breeze late at night.
“Spanish Romance”, a charming, tender piece, is followed by the equally endearing “Andante and Rondo”, characterized by a light theme and contrasting dramatic chords, intense sostenuti and glissandi. In “Agua e Vinho” meanwhile I think of the melody voice as crystalline water and the accompaniment underneath as the ruddy wine, together forming a perfect pairing.
The combination of these pieces, with their wide contrasts in sentiment, creates a balance through which their individual shades become united into a larger canvass revealing my interior life. It is often a yearning, melancholic image,
but containing always a seed of light and a sense of beautiful serenity. This voice is for me the natural voice of the guitar, to which I was drawn twelve years ago as a reflection of my own, and which, between my fingers and its frets, continues to resonate with my innermost feelings throughout all
the vicissitudes and joys of my experience. This album is my sincere statement – hearing it, you know me.
Born in 1987, Norwegian guitarist Christina Sandsengen is already established as one of the leading European guitarists of her generation. Her debut release for Odradek pays tribute both to her Scandinavian roots and to the great Iberian guitar tradition, represented by such classics as Francisco Tárrega’s ‘Lágrima’ and Isaac Albéniz’s ‘Asturias’.
In addition, Sandsengen’s programme of expressive and colourful 19th and 20th century repertoire features music by two South American mavericks: Agustín Barrios Mangoré, the celebrated “Paganini of the guitar from the jungles of Paraguay” whose Bachian depiction of a gloomy Cathedral is contrasted with Àgua e Vinho (Water and Wine) from the pen of the uniquely creative Brazilian Egberto Gismonti.
Latin flamboyance makes way for a Nordic nocturne in the jazzy ‘Late at Night’ by her compatriot Norwegian guitar professor Sven Lundestad. The most substantial work is Carlo Domeniconi’s ‘Koyunbaba’ suite which Sandsengen says “captivates me with its wide spectrum of feelings and Turkish folk spirit”.
It has also been released digitally and can be purchased on for example iTunes, or be listened to on Spotify.
You can also get the album from your local record store or buy a physical copy on the internet (for example on Amazon or Presto Classical).