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Daniel Börtz His name was Orestes; A Joker's Tales

Anita Björk (narrator); Christensson, Johan; Dolata, Adrian; Qvarfordt, Carl-Henric; Ruuttunen, Esa; Annalena Persson, Ingrid Tobiasson, Marianne Eklöf, Anna Larsson, Anders Larsson, Olle Persson and Esa Ruuttunen
& Dan Laurin (recorder) Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra & Eric Ericson Chamber Choir/Alan Gilbert

BIS CD 1653-54

An important oratorio after Aeschylus, Börtz's His name was Orestes is released from public performances in Stockholm April 2004.

It is of particular interest for encompassing many strands of the classical myths, with the tales and sufferings of Klytamnestra, Agamemnon, Cassandra, Aegisthus, Electra, Orestes, Chilissa and, taking the long view, the Goddess Athena whose casting vote in favour of Orestes brings the whole saga of murder and serial revenge to a joyous conclusion of blessings for mankind's prosperity and joy...

I am sure it will make a strong effect in live performance, and it should (in an ideal world) be heard more widely, including UK, where it might receive appreciation at The Proms. His name was Orestes is cast on a large scale, lasting 88 minutes. The musical idiom is powerful and readily accessible without being simplistic. It is sung by a large cast and chorus and presented with parallel bi-lingual texts in english and Swedish - a lovely language to hear and to follow.

Daniel Börtz (b. 1943) is a versatile composer, responsive to opportunities which present themselves, and with this compilation he touches on two of my particular interests. His name was Orestes begins and ends with a remarkably poised performance by an exceptional pure-voiced boy soprano, Adrian Dolata, as the Herdsman. He soars up into the leger lines with no seeming nervousness; a modern day example of what has become an increasingly rare breed; see The Better Land. (You can listen to Adrian's two tracks on the Naxos website at http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=BIS-CD-1653-54 )

The fill-up here is a remarkable concerto for recorders (Dan Laurin) composed, unusually, for full symphony orchestra. It was welcomed as one of a collection of 21st-century music for Laurin's recorders with varied and unusual supporting instruments. A Joker´s Tales (Concerto for Recorders and Large Orchestra) finds many ingenious ways of juxtaposing and combining the puny recorder with full orchestra, ringing the changes from tiny sopranino (plus whistling) to alto and tenor. Bortz also had written a splendid concerto for Michala Petri (q.v."this is the piece I shall return to most often" [BIS-CD-142]).

Peter Grahame Woolf

re Dan Laurin see http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/a/2049/Dan_Laurin/1Börtz; http://www.musicalpointers.co.uk/reviews/cddvd/vanEyck.htm