Håkon Kornstad—tenor, tenor saxophone, flute
Mats Eilertsen—double bass
01 Du bist die Ruh (F. Schubert, 1823)
02 A vucchella (F. P. Tosti, 1892)
03 Di tu se fedele (G. Verdi, 1859)
04 Im Treibhaus (R. Wagner, 1857)
05 Apri la tua finestra! (P. Mascagni, 1898)
06 Vainement ma bien aimée (E. Lalo, 1888)
07 Stambogsrim (E.Grieg, 1876)
08 Nana (inspired by M. de Falla, 1914)
Total playing time: 42 minutes
Produced by Kåre Chr. Vestrheim. Co-produced by Håkon Kornstad.
Recorded August 27-28, 2018 in Propeller Studios, Oslo. Engineer: Mike Hartung. Mixed by Mike Hartung, October 2-4, 2018 in Propeller Studios, Oslo.
Mastered by Morgan Nicolaysen at Propeller Mastering, Oslo.
HOW DID YOU PICK THE SONGS—AND HOW DID YOU ARRANGE THEM? First of all, working with improvisers like Frode and Mats, all you have to do is to throw at them the original opera score, and then an organic trio reduction comes out, often at the very first try. Some songs or arias just have that EUREKA feeling. Even though they are from—say 1823, they instantly fit into our way of playing together. Others are harder to break through, but with some collective tweaks we get there. And some arias are simply not possible to do, music wise (or taste wise...)
HÅKON KORNSTAD, ARE YOU A JAZZ SAXOPHONIST OR AN OPERA SINGER?
When I play the saxophone, I’m a jazz musician, inspired by people like Hawkins, Getz and Garbarek —or Gustafsson for that matter. When I take a breath to sing, I think like a classical singer, inspired by Björling, Wunderlich or Pavarotti, in love with—and sometimes scared of the high notes, like all the tenors I know.
WHAT DOES THE TERM “JAZZ” MEAN TO YOU?
I grew up in Norway, and my inspiration builds on the Norwegian sound established already in the 1960s. Our heroes were mixing different, often contrasting musical genres, using ears and
improvisation skills as glue. To me jazz is a way of thinking—a method—rather than a specific sound. Maybe you bought this album after a concert, wanting to bring these exact same songs and moods home with you, only to find that they sound totally different from what you remember. In jazz the compositions never stop evolving (almost like plants in a greenhouse).
...SO THAT’S WHY YOU CHOOSE THE TITLE “IM TREIBHAUS”?
Wagner’s song from “Wesendonck-Lieder” instantly captured me when I first heard it—it has this dark, innate beauty, yet it’s almost sketch like, and with some editing, it was well suited and open to our ways of playing with it. Additionally, the title describes in a good way my own bouts as a singer for the last three years—I have been focusing on letting my voice grow, the way it wants to.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE CONTEMPORARY SAXOPHONIST KORNSTAD?
Maybe he became post contemporary, haha. Coltrane passed away over 50 years ago, and people are still referring to him—and those who sound like him—as contemporary jazz. 50 years before that again, the jazz songbook was written by classical composers stemming from romantic music. Personally I think what we do is as contemporary as anything else in 2018: editing the classical masterpieces with a new point of view (and a bit of humor) —Enjoy!
Photos by Erik Burås