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Norwegian vocalist Live Maria Roggen (of Come Shine and Trondheim Voices fame) and contemporary pianist Ingfrid Breie Nyhus describe their duo album Skymt (glimpse in Norwegian) as remnants and ripplings from memories of romantic songs. Roggen and Nyhus have worked in recent years with freely improvised interpretations of romantic texts and music, by zooming in and zooming out on different layers – or questions – of what the song is and can be about, searching for different ways to express this. This highly personal, research process catalyzed the developing of new duo dynamics for song and piano. The album was recorded at Rainbow Studio in Oslo in June 2023.

Skymt is the sophomore album of Roggen and Nyhus, following last year’s EP Demanten (LabLabel, 2022), focusing on improvised versions of songs by Jean Sibelius and Finnish-Swedish poets. Skymt stems from songs and poems about unrest, longing, disturbance and sorrow, but its emotional atmosphere is ambiguous but still, vulnerable and highly expressive.

The 18 short pieces – most of them last less or more about a minute – search for new spaces that the old and familiar musical and poetic undercurrents of the romantic songs may lead into. Roggen and Nyhus move freely between traditions and practices and offer new and loose forms, more cryptic and suggestive emotional states of mind, and far and distant emotional shadows and associations, with a reserved sense of grace and imagination.

Eyal Hareuveni

Live Maria Roggen (vocals), Ingfrid Breie Nyhus (piano)