On their first visit to Australian shores, Norwegian singers Trio Mediaeval – comprising members Anna Maria Friman, Linn Andrea Fuglseth and Jorunn Lovise Husan – pair with trumpeter Arve Henriksen for an evening of Scandinavian harmonies in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral.
Drawing heavily from their Rímur album, the program of folk songs, hymns, chants and improvisation leads the audience through Icelandic, Norwegian and Swedish melodies, the three voices intersecting in delicately textured tones. There is an appealing clarity to their sound, and these often centuries-old songs reward close focus, revealing subtle shifts and understated arrangements.
Henriksen’s muted trumpet lends tremendous atmosphere, hovering beautifully in wisp-like notes in the cathedral air, at times shifting form and mimicking other instruments. Accompanying the singers in combination with Friman’s violin and the warm drone of a shruti box results in a lovely richness in pieces like O Jesu dulcissime. Other standouts include St Birgitta hymn – Rosa rorans bonitatem and traditional Norwegian folk song So ro liten tull.
Although the cathedral does not reach maximum potential as a venue, the performers’ palpable talent is enhanced by their warm and approachable stage presence, and the genre-hopping but cohesive program uplifts and largely delights.
Trio Mediaeval performed at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral on Wednesday, March 6
Ingvil Skeie Ljones / Adelaide Festival