Truls Ørpen - Spel under Norefjell
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Truls Ørpen
Spel under Norefjell
Ta:lik (www.talik.no)

Ta:lik's releases can be put into two categories; the contemporary, often somewhat innovative folk music albums such as Mattisgard and Røine's recent Sudan Dudan. The other is the more traditional, co-produced with NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation and using material from the NRK archives.

Spel under Norefjell belongs to this latter category. Truls Ørpen (1880-1958) picked up the fiddle at an early age and learned from older fiddlers in his home region of Krødsherad. What made Ørpen special was his big interest and openness towards other types of hardingfele music. In Torkjell Haugerud and Gunnulf Borgen, Ørpen had two renowned teachers of Telemark music. In addition, the Krødsherad fiddler learned much from the neighboring district Numedal. Truls Ørpen was not only a great fiddler with an impressing repertoire, he also collected and transcribed music and helped edit the large work Hardingfeleslåttar, a collection of hardingfele music.

The first disc contains music from Krødsherad, as well as an old video clip of Ørpen from the 50's. Ørpen has a strong, accurate and distinct tone. His bowing is quick and rhythmic. It is said that he never ever played for dances, which is peculiar, as this music has always had a strong connection to dancing. Perhaps this is also why there seems to be a lack of nuances and dynamics in his playing. On the second CD, we hear Ørpen play music from Telemark and Numedal. A series of tunes called "Jutulen i Norefjell" ends this album. These are compositions made by Ørpen himself, eight tunes in various unusual tunings. Frankly, this suite is like a sleeping pill; Ørpen is playing around with the different tunings in slow march tempo for 25 minutes.

The reproduction quality is great, considering the source and time of the recordings, although the sound is very dry and up-close, making the listening somewhat demanding. ­ Staffan Jonsson

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