Norwegian harpist and composer Uno Vesje’s Oslo(ve), the follow up to 2014’s Poems from a City, is an ode to the country’s capital and the composer’s home city. Vesje has been a soloist with the Bergen Philharmonic and regularly performs with ensembles throughout Norway. In 2013 he was a prizewinner in the International Edvard Grieg Composition contest.
The central work here is a five-movement suite for strings, harp, and flute. Originally composed for harp, string orchestra and soprano, it had received a world premiere at Carnegie Hall in 2016. The Suite Oslo(ve) opens at Oslo’s Royal Palace, hinted at in quotations of the Norwegian national anthem, before moving through a series of city scenes. The recording concludes with movements from two of Vesje’s earlier compositions, both of which complement the suite in mood and style.
Oslo(ve) is contemporary in the broadest sense of the word, and the harpist owes much to modern film music. Vesje’s musical rendering of the Oslo cityscape is firmly programmatic and the simplicity of his concept, though successfully executed on this clear and professional recording, may leave more adventurous listeners wanting more. Hints of avant-garde are, however, suggested in the tasteful deployment of extended instrumental techniques by the ensemble, which includes the renowned Norwegian flutist Tom Ottar Andreassen. A highly accessible release that will appeal to a wide audience.