Vox Humana – the human voice – has had varying ideal sounds in different cultures and epochs. The multi vocalist Ruth Wilhelmine Meyer departs radically and deliberately from the idea that there is only one ideal sound that should prevail within the same concert or recording. On Vox Humana she expresses the possibilities of the voice in many directions, ranging from the ideals of folk music through folk songs and classical songs to overtone or throat singing and vocal forms of expression resembling bird song or machine noise.
In this production Nils Henrik Asheim exploits the tonal range of the organ, the most versatile of all instruments. On a well preserved Polish organ from 1719 he uses his improvisational playing style to intersect his music with Ruth Wilhelmine Meyer’s broad range of expression.
One of the voices on organs from the baroque age is called “Vox humana”. This gives us the opportunity to hear that the ideal sound for the human voice 300 years ago was different than today, the age of the microphone.
Both these musicians have hymns as part of their musical background, but want to open up this tradition to a wider range of sounds. Together they have based their compositions on this album on the vision of a common Vox Humana – the human voice.
Ruth Wilhelmine Meyer, who grew up in Telemark County, has developed her own experimental expression in part based on traditional vocal techniques from regions such as Canada, Tuva (overtone, or throat singing), southern Iraq and Armenia. Here these tonal qualities are merged with hymns from Norway, as well as traditions from Armenia, Corsica and the Faeroe Islands.
The composer and organist Nils Henrik Asheim has developed a playing style where the interaction with the particular organ he is playing is the foundation for the music that follows. The 300-year-old Hildebrandt organ in Pasłęk, east of Gdansk in Poland, was chosen for its unique richness of tonal qualities, and its material tactile sound.
The album has been recorded and produced by Erik Hillestad.