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Maja S.K. Ratkje - Suit

  by Maarten Schiethart

published: 14 / 5 / 2019

Maja S.K. Ratkje - Suit
Label: Rune Grammofon
Format: CD


Remarkable and hauntingly beautiful ballet and opera music from composer Maja S.K. Ratkje which was inspired by Knut Hamsun’s novel ‘Hunger’

Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje, to give her full name, in a sense combines Scandinavia's impoverished past with its current wealth; as 'Sult' ('Hunger') makes gorgeous music. Unimaginable now, Norway and Sweden were poor countries a century ago yet they've become epitomes of rapidly arising social-democratic nations. Beyond being a tiny Wealth of Nations in their own right, Sweden and Norway as well enriched the World of Music through a government scheme. Maja Ratkje's latest album shows to great extent the government spending on music education has proved worth every penny. Created for Oslo's extravagantly expensive but beautiful Opera building, Ratkje's music combines chamber music and delicate minimal intermezzi. The most beautiful track here must be 'En Træflis Å Tygge På' merrily borrowing from Sibelius, Arvo Pärt and a perhaps a teaspoon full of Laurie Anderson. The atmosphere on the melancholic 'Jeg fornemmer mine sko som en sagte susende tone imot mig' turns shoegaze. 'Jeg fornemmer mine sko som en sagte susende tone imot mig' is a line that could also come from ‘The Beggars Opera’. Based on Knut Hamsun’s debut novel, controversial now because of its racist undertones, 'Sult' counts amongst as the best of her performances that I have listened to. Whilst Maja Ratkje has worked with the likes of fellow novice voice artists like Klarendal's zany Jaap Blonk, 'Sult' is devoid of its past inclinations. Ratkje's ballet score of today shines through due to its fancy fashion. It diverts from the novel's sense of human starvation and adds a plethora in moving sounds. Hamsun's 'Sult' (‘Hunger’)is less an issue than it could be today; rather one by which Norway should find the means to spend effort to showcase an author in its correct mindset. On this album, Ratkje goes much further. Her score goes beyond, well beyond, a plaintive rendition. Inspired by the novel, choreographed for opera and ultimately written as the score to 'Sult', Maja Ratkje has found the balance. An album mastered by faithful pupils.

Track Listing:-
1 Introduksjon - denne forundelige by
2 Sjå, Åmioda - og ikke en lyd kom mig fra strupen
3 Den sprættende bevægelse min fot gjør hver gang pulsen slår
4 Sayago - en sådan glidende lyd
5 En træflis å tygge på
6 Øine som råsilke, armer av rav
7 Et hvitt fyrtårn midt i et grumset menneskehav hvor vrak fløt om
8 Jeg fornemmer mine sko som en sagte susende tone imot mig
9 Kristiania

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