OSLO(VE) sings to Norway’s top city
M. Michael Brady
OSLO(VE) is the second album of the works by Uno Alexander Vesje, a young (born 1989) Norwegian composer who studied harp at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City and the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. He performed with several Norwegian orchestras before making his international debut at Carnegie Hall on March 21, 2016, together with Quartetto Testosterone, a string quartet named for being all male, performing the premiere of OSLO(VE) as well as other works. He has since performed round the world, as afar as Hong Kong.
The album has seven tracks, Oslo(ve), a suite of five movements, a musical walk through the city, starting at the Royal Palace, and two additional short pieces:
1. “Oslo(ve): Prelude Karl Johan,” variations on the national anthem theme
2. “Oslo(ve) I: City Fog,” the sometimes misty mood of the city
3. “Oslo(ve) II: Barcode,” jagged skyline of the Fjord City redevelopment of central Oslo
4. “Oslo(ve) III: Sparrows at Kaffebrenneriet,” at a city coffee café outdoor table
5. “Oslo(ve) IV: The Aker River” that by tradition divides East from West in the city
6. “Harp Concerto no. 1: Andante moderato”
7. “Prelude no. 1: Harp, strings, and flute”
Indeed, Vesje has walked many streets, in Oslo and in New York, often wheeling his harp strapped to a hand truck. The name Oslo(ve) is one of many knock-offs of “I Love New York,” a slogan, logo and song used since 1977 to promote tourism in the state of New York, including New York City. Oslo(ve) is now much used to promote tourism in Oslo.
Harp Column (www.harpcolumn.com), a family of websites and a magazine for the worldwide harp community has described the album as: “stunningly beautiful, eye-opening, and deeply touching…what every harpist wants to do with their strings. The effects are stunning, the resolution is a breath of fresh air.”
The album: OSLO(VE), UNO VESJE<e/em>, released in 2017 by Audio Records (Norway), is available online from four streaming services (Apple Music, iTunes, Spotify, and Tidal), accessible from www.unoharp.com/cd, and soon on CD.
This article originally appeared in the March 23, 2018, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.