Giovanna Pessi (baroque harp), Susanna Wallumrød (voice), Jane Achtman (viola da gamba) & Marco Ambrosini (nyckelharpa)
Usually despatched in 4 - 5 working days.
Unique, intimate album initiated by Swiss baroque harpist Giovanna Pessi and featuring the pure, non-classical voice of Norwegian singer Susanna Wallumrød. Best known for her work in pop and indie-rock contexts (including the duo Susanna and the Magical Orchestra), Wallumrød is heard singing songs of Henry Purcell: interspersed between them are songs of Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake and two of Susanna’s own pieces. Purcell has never been heard quite like this – and indeed, neither has Leonard Cohen.
At the centre of the album are Susanna Wallumrød’s natural voice and Pessi’s harp but the ensemble also includes Marco Ambrosini on nyckelharpa (the Swedish keyed fiddle) and Jan Achtman on viola da gamba. Pessi has often played with these musicians, individually, in early music contexts.
If Grief Could Wait will appeal to followers of Susanna’s music, as well as open-minded classical listeners. Yet this is not a pop album, nor does it follow strict interpretations of historical performance practice. Pessi and Wallumrød simply present music that they love and the commitment of all participants brings to the repertoire unanimity of purpose.
Giovanna Pessi’s exceptional harp playing has been heard in ECM in quite different settings. She has played with the Rolf Lislevand Ensemble on Diminuito and been a member of the Christian Wallumrød Ensemble, first recording with the latter group in 2006 on The Zoo Is Far. Playing and rehearsing with Christian Wallumrød brought Pessi often to Oslo, where she met and befriended the pianist’s sister, singer Susanna. They began playing together informally. Susanna invited Pessi to play on her pop album ‘Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos’ in 2008. And when Manfred Eicher asked Giovanna to consider an ECM project of her own, Susanna’s voice was the instrument she wanted to present, alongside the harp.
“Wallumrod is from a popular music background and has a rather fragile, highly affecting and appealing voice, occasionally striking echoes of Bjork, which is fine in my book. She is equally convincing in the songs of the other three composers, and is especially moving in her own.”
The Independent on Sunday
11th December 2011
“Bare-bones settings of songs by Henry Purcell sit next to reworkings of Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake, with the spectral sounds of viola da gamba and the hurdy gurdy-like nyckelharpa (a Swedish "keyed fiddle") added to Pessi's virtuoso accompaniment. It's beguiling, slightly monotonous, but very effective.”
19th November 2011
“Here’s something quirky and moderately enchanting: a Norwegian singer mixes Purcell’s songs with equally love-torn ditties from three centuries later. Wallumrød treats Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake as she does their 17th-century forerunner: with the melancholic addition of viola da gamba, nyckelharpa and Baroque harp, and a folksong vocal style.”