THORESEN: Sea of Names – Music by LASSE THORESEN – Maiken Mathisen Schau, flute/Trond Schau, p. – 2L multichannel SACD 2l-127 (11/18/16) *** 1/2:

Contemporary chamber music from Norway, well-played and recorded.

Lasse Thoresen is a well-known composer of contemporary Scandinavian music, inspired by a culture rich in a tradition of experimentation. His chamber music for flute and piano is here performed by Maiken and Trond Schau with virtuosity and precision that brings this music to life.

Thoresen is Professor of Composition at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. He began composing at age 15. This disc is a compilation of works composed between 1976 and 2011. Some of the works are spiritual. Other represent the Norwegian countryside. Thoresen is not a name most western music fans will know, but his works as presented here are worth a thoughtful listen. The various pieces work well together as a full program.

The audio is up to the usual 2L standards, even though the program material is not a sonic spectacular with a full orchestra or chorus. Even then, the dynamics of the piano and details of the flute come across quite realistically. The session was recorded at the Sofienberg Church in Norway. The flute and piano are anchored to the front channels, while the rears offer mild ambiance from the recording venue. This is an SACD-only release from 2L, so no downloadable files or Blu-ray audio disc so far.

2L has done an excellent job of highlighting music from Norway, where they are located. Their catalog is full of musical and sonic gems that would otherwise be difficult to hear. Sea of Names creates a rich musical tapestry, and lovers of contemporary music by small ensembles should be happy with a purchase of this disc.

—Mel Martin