www.critic-service.de, december 2008.
"This is one of the most enchanting and charming pieces of music which has ever been recorded in the last decades. Both fairly old traditional instruments - a coupling of hurdy-gurdy with a fiddel and a harpsichord - let us hear such a magic and ravishing music, which, I must confess, remained a lot of days in my mind - to my utmost pleasure. The acoustic delight starts with the Kyrkmarch by Olof Jansson (1927-1993), which is a derivative of the Allegro ma non troppo in Beethoven's violin concerto. The glistening sound of the harpa and the sparkling sound of the harpsichord is an overwhelming ear-catcher. The Sonate in c major for both instruments by C.Ph.E. Bach means truly original barock sound, even both instruments are of 20th century origin. You need nice wedding music? Listen to the Kyrkpolska on the harpsichord with buff stop. Absolutely convincing is the transcription of Bach's Cello solo suite in g major on the harpa. It is a new interpretation, one octave higher, but fully agreable. The hopping, dancing rhythm of the Courante and the fluctuant Gigue are admirable. The warm and sonorous tone bares the affect of comfort in two clavecin pieces by Couperin le Grand and Marin Marais. A genuine finale furioso are the 32 Couplets de Folies by Marin Marais. It is unbelievable how hilarious both musicians give every variation a new colour and measure of energy. You hear some in a ludicrous tempo, you hear the howling of a nice cat, or tender voices. Here are true masters of music at work! Congratulations! The booklet in English, Swedish and Japanese is well equipped with informative texts and nice photographs. Bravo musica rediviva!"
www.critic-service.de, december 2008.
"Why should you want to buy a CD played on an instrument and by a musician of which and of whom, unless you are Swedish, you probably haven’t heard? Here is one answer: when the instrument is the nyckelharpa and the player is Torbjörn Näsbom. The instrument is a kind of keyed fiddle, earliest known in Sweden from 14th and 15th century church art and from a real instrument dated 1526. Like the hurdy-gurdy it has keys to control pitch, but whereas the strings are vibrated on the former with a wheel, on the nyckelharpa a short bow is used. In addition, like the viola d’amore, the modern version of the nyckelharpa has sympathetic strings – twelve on the instrument used on this CD. The result is a wholly individual sound, lacking in vibrato but flexible and capable of variation in articulation. Clearly related to the viola da gamba and to other folk instruments it is more than capable of meeting most of the very varied requirements of the music played here. I understand that there has been a revival of interest in it in recent years in Sweden. This is understandable, and CDs such as this could easily spread it well beyond there.
Torbjörn Näsbom started as a violinist, playing both classical and folk music, but he took up the nyckelharpa later, initially as a side activity. This disc shows that he can play not only folk-inspired music such as that of Lars näsbom and Eric Sahlsröm with gusto and grace, but also great and well known baroque masterpieces. I do however find the Bach Suite the least satisfactory item on the disc. This is not because of any objection in principle to playing it on instruments other than the cello. After all, convincing recordings of it are available played on, for instance, the viola and the guitar. It can give pleasure in private to players of many other instruments, from the flute to the double bass. näsbom does not give an unmusical or uninteresting performance, but the much more limited sonority of his instrument does seem to reduce the impact of the music, in particular of the Prelude and Sarabande.
The other large scale transcriptions are much more satisfactory. Both the C.P.E. Bach and the Marin Marais pieces are utterly convincing, and in no way lose out from not being played on the viola da gamba for which they were written. The Couplets de Folies are played with both dash and concern for their cumulative effect. Both näsbom and Edlund, the excellent harpsichord player, are at their best here, at the end of the CD, which I have found makes it almost impossible to avoid the temptation to return to the start and listen to it all over again.
The impact of the playing is assisted by an excellent recording, clear and well balanced, neither too close to the instruments nor in too reverberant a space. The notes, by Professor Emeritus Jan Ling are helpful about the instruments - and come in Swedish and Japanese as well as English - but say little about the music. The beautifully presented folder containing both notes and CD does however have a delightful series of photographs taken by Leif Haglund on the estate of Wapnö Slott, Halland, which may not always be directly related to the contents of the CD but are a source of great pleasure in themselves. All in all, I can strongly recommend this to anyone with an interest in Baroque music, folk music or simply wanting to hear great music played in an unexpected but wholly fascinating way."
MusicWeb International, september 2007.
"The meeting of nyckelharpa and harpsichord is extraordinarily beautiful. Two delicate sounds get together and delightful music emerges. [...] Nyckelharpist Torbjörn Näsbom and harpsichordist Andreas Edlund find connections between swedish folk music and baroque music. Music by father and son Bach, Marin Marais and François Couperin, meets tunes by Eric Sahlström, polonaises (polskor) and marches.
The music is woven together, it is sometimes hard to hear what is what. But the most remarkable happens in Bach's G-major suite for cello, here played on the nyckelharpa. Enchanting, amazing how the nyckelharpa can measure up with the deeper sounding cello. The mighty gets delicate and ethereal, like leaf-birth and sparkling wine."
Mats Palmquist (our translation)
Lira Music Magazine, august 2007
...on this blog and also webmaster for this site is Andreas Edlund.