Nørgård: Symphony No. 8 - Storgårds

Nørgård: Symphony No. 8 - Storgårds

BIS  BIS-2502

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral

Nørgård: Symphony No. 8, Nocturnal Movements*

Peter Herresthal* (violin)
Jakob Kullberg* (cello)
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
John Storgårds (conductor)

Celebrating his 90th birthday in 2022, Per Nørgård is undoubtedly one of the most important Danish composers since Nielsen. His important production that covers all genres is a highly personal travel document based on his endless incursions through the sonic labyrinths of this world.

Based on material from Nørgård’s viola concerto from 1986, Three Nocturnal Movements for violin, cello and orchestra came about on the initiative of the violinist Peter Herresthal and the cellist Jakob Kullberg, two of his long-term collaborators. The work was creatively developed for two soloists by Kullberg, who decided on the form of the movement after making a selection of musical fragments described as ‘nocturnal’.

Dedicated to the conductor John Storgårds, Symphony No. 8 appears bright, transparent while its atmosphere is somewhat mysterious and filled with tension. This symphony, his most recent work in this genre, can be compared to latter works from other Nordic composers like Sibelius and Nielsen. Finally, Lysning, a short piece for string orchestra, has been described by Nørgård as a ‘glade’ and is made of an alternance of darker and brighter variations of the same musical ideas heard in different instrumental colourings and nuances.

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PCM recording
Comments (28)

Comment by Athenaeus - September 15, 2023 (1 of 28)

Since all comments have to go under a specific release, I will use this one, which seems to be the most recent BIS disc on this site.

In case you didn't already know, Apple recently acquired BIS. Yes, the same folks who make Macs and iPhones! I'm not sure what this means for the future of this wonderful label. Will they continue to offer original repertoire and encourage lesser-known ensembles? Will they continue issuing SACDs? Will they strive to keep their catalogue in print? Who knows?

Comment by Adrian Quanjer - September 17, 2023 (2 of 28)

I did not know. Bissie kept quiet about it. Thanks for the info Athenaeus. It ties in with what I see happening. BIS have been selling out lately, Channel Classics sold, Native DSD accepting lower res qualities, Challenge producing fewer SACDs. Myrios out, and whatnot. Time to buy the best quality Wi-Fi earbuds? Or am I too pessimistic?

Comment by Athenaeus - September 17, 2023 (3 of 28)

Let me offer my predictions about the future of the business...

Facebook will buy Chandos and transfer all their catalogue to the Metaverse.

Google will buy Ondine and use this label to market AI-generated classical "songs".

Elon Musk will buy Alia Vox, rename the label "A", completely wreck the company and then blame the mess on somebody else.

Comment by Adrian Quanjer - September 18, 2023 (4 of 28)

News item IMusician:

Swedish Classical Music Label BIS Records has been acquired by Apple to establish a stronger presence of the genre within the music industry. The label’s founder, Robert von Bahr, is looking positively towards a future “filled with new music and artists in golden sound from this increased force in classical music.”
BIS Records now belongs to Apple

It has been announced that Apple has acquired the classical music label BIS Records. Its founder, Robert von Bahr (80), announced the acquisition in an official letter shortly after the label’s 50th anniversary.

The decision reflects his commitment to creating a future where technology and classical music can coexist in harmony. He explains that the team thought “long and hard on how to maintain and build upon our prestigious history and looked for a partner who would further our mission, as well as an increased global platform to bring classical music to new audiences all over the world.”

He also praised Apple Music for its continuous investments in classical music: “There have been numerous moves of late by Apple to further support creativity within the classical space, not the least of which was the release of Apple Music Classical earlier this year.”

Apple Music Classical is a music streaming app that allows users to find recordings, enjoy high-quality classical music thanks to its Spatial Audio technology, explore playlists, learn about the artists behind the music, and much more. The app is home to the world’s largest classical music catalog (5 million tracks) and is considered a valuable asset for listeners and classical musicians alike.

The label’s founder hopes that the acquisition will allow for a future “filled with new music and artists in golden sound from this increased force in classical music.”

Who's next?

Comment by k-spin - September 20, 2023 (5 of 28)

Is that the end of physical releases from BIS then?

Their website is currently just displaying a letter from Robert regarding the sale. There are a few links to "featured releases" along the bottom but these just route to streaming/purchase links rather than a proper product page. Any links I had to specific product pages now just re-direct to the front page and Robert's letter.

Maybe time to pick up the remaining BIS releases in my wish list...

Comment by Jan Arell - September 21, 2023 (6 of 28)

I copy what I wrote two weeks ago in a comment to another record:

I just randomly picked a recent Bis recording.
What are your reactions to Apple's acquisition of Bis Records?
I think it will work out fine for everyone involved, including us listeners.
Apple gets a prestige label for not that much money.
Bis gets continued releases of their often adventurous catalogue. Perhaps they may reach a much larger public as well.

As an avid Bis fan, I'm happy that Bis is taken over by a company that have moved the boundaries for good sound quality within the hemisphere that Apple works at. I do hope that Eclassical will be kept as it is. Spatial Audio is quite ok for earphones but for my main speakers, nothing compares to hi rez downloads från Eclassical (and others, of course).

Comment by Athenaeus - September 21, 2023 (7 of 28)

Well, the fact they immediately closed BIS's online store and no longer seem to sell discs certainly bodes ill. I'm not against streaming, but — like quite a few other people — I prefer to buy a physical product. I get the impression that Apple's attitude is "We're not going to waste our precious time on a few CD troglodytes; we're too busy building the future". If that's the case, they've lost this customer. Also, I'm sure several of the label's artists expect to see their work appear as a physical product. Quite a few of them might decide to move to another label.

For the moment, we don't have much information about Apple's plans, so we'll have to wait and see. But as you can gather from the above, I'm rather pessimistic.

Comment by Adrian Quanjer - September 23, 2023 (8 of 28)

Downloading Hi-Res files in surround 5.1 takes a fair amount of time. Before having been connected to the internet with fibre optics it took me sometimes up to two hours to download the equivalent of one SACD. It is faster now, but it is hard to believe that the same quality (same file size) can be passed on by ‘streaming’ to a customer, no matter under whatever Hi-Res label it is sold.

Moreover, I fear that Apple’s Spatial Audio technology is a gimmick suggesting ‘surround’ but cannot replace a carefully mastered 5.1 (or 5.0) image. It reminds me of the early days of stereo with instruments allocated to either the left or right channel, thereby creating a totally unnatural sound image.

With SACD on the way out and Hi-Res download sites catering for the (surround) quality we want, facing a difficult time, the future looks bleak.

Comment by Marcus DiBenedetto - September 23, 2023 (9 of 28)

The same unease is felt with 4K disc vs. streaming. I prefer the disc. In my opinion, the quality is much higher. However, with music, we have an advantage. I download the DXD file (much more available over the past couple years). This allows me to download the "master" file from which SACDs are created. No loss of quality. Music streaming is different. I've tried streaming (Qobuz) and I didn't like it. Plus, it's expensive. Unlikely that the Apple purchase of BIS will save their SACD production. I see it all going to Apple streaming. Download quality from Apple remains to be seen.

Comment by Athenaeus - September 23, 2023 (10 of 28)

The crazy thing is that BIS's SACD production is probably profitable. Of course, it doesn't churn out billions, but I'm sure it makes a decent profit. I don't think Robert von Bahr would be one to let his business lose money for years on SACDs.

I have given it some thought and I just don't see how Apple could be the right company to take over BIS. They're a Silicon Valley behemoth. How could they possibly have the artistic and commercial vision that it takes to nurture a specialized classical label? I'm not just talking about the production of discs. I mean the whole business: finding and promoting good artists, coming up with good programmes, recording and mixing properly, taking care of the back catalogue, etc.

I'm afraid Apple just want to use BIS to expand their streaming service and that's it. They don't care about the label itself.

Comment by SACD-MAN (threerandot) - September 27, 2023 (11 of 28)

What is a sellout?
1. to dispose of one's goods by sale. especially : to sell one's business.
2. to betray one's cause or associates especially for personal gain.

I don't trust apple as far as I could spit and if I were the owner of BIS I would SPIT right in apple's eyes!!!!

corporations are gobbling up all of the competition. This is NOT good! This is very, very, very, BAD!

I am now boycotting all BIS product as they have sold out. I urge others to do the same. So much for integrity. I would rather close up shop and tell Apple to **** *** then let them have the business!

Comment by Gurkensalat - September 28, 2023 (12 of 28)

I rather trust the founder and owner for 50 years of BIS (Robert von Bahr) to make the right decision to preserve his life achievement than some random internet "honest" guy with pessimistic ramblings. To ask for a boycott is unnecessary vitriolic since we do not know anything about the details of the deal and the future developments. I continue to enjoy BIS recordings, buying some from time to time and will see how things develop. With the advent of the Apple classical app, the switch to lossless and partially hi-rez and Atmos on Apple Music, I might one day even consider a subscription, but for the time being I enjoy my extensive collection of hi-rez multichannel music.

Comment by Adrian Quanjer - September 30, 2023 (13 of 28)

We must assume that it is Apple calling the shots on their terms.

“And as classical music lovers often double up with knowledgeable audiophiles, Apple offers its tracks in Lossless and Hi-Res Lossless (24 bit/192 kHz). Dolby Atmos processing is added to these encodings”.

But please note that theory doesn’t always equal practice. Much depends on your internet connection and the devices you use.
An interesting (sales) article (in French)

We must assume as well that the physical product, e.g., SACD m-ch will no longer be available. And what about booklets?

Comment by hiredfox - October 3, 2023 (14 of 28)

Knowing Apple they just wanted the back catalogue of e Classical files, nothing more. They have no interest whatsoever in the physical form of music reproduction. We can kiss goodbye to the BIS label and SACD. Thanks Robert for nothing!

[The decision reflects his commitment to creating a future where technology and classical music can coexist in harmony. He explains that the team thought “long and hard on how to maintain and build upon our prestigious history and looked for a partner who would further our mission, as well as an increased global platform to bring classical music to new audiences all over the world.”]

What a load of tosh. Does he take us all for complete fools? It's only about the money.

"Technology and classical music are coexisting in harmony" on Vinyl & SACD already!!!

Comment by Athenaeus - October 3, 2023 (15 of 28)

Tosh indeed.

In BIS's announcement, it's all about technology, functionalities and markets. It hardly has anything to say about what really matters with a record label, the musicians and their music. And that highlights the fundamental problem with this acquisition. How could Robert von Bahr have thought for one second that Apple would be the right company to find and nurture talented classical musicians, develop interesting recording programmes and look after BIS's wonderful back catalogue? Encoding formats, distribution formats and other technological elements are not unimportant, but are they what makes a great label? Of course not! It's the artistic vision of the people who run the company that makes a great label (with a bit of business acumen, too).

I'm very sad to see the end of BIS's SACDs, but it saddens me just as much to think of what Apple is going to do with BIS's legacy and with the artists who recorded for this label. For a lot of these musicians, I suspect it's going to be difficult to find another label that gives them the same freedom, and visibility.

Comment by Joseph Ponessa - October 4, 2023 (16 of 28)

For over forty years I have been buying BIS vinyl, BIS compact disc, BIS laserdisc (yes, there was one) and BIS SACD. The company successfully morphed through two technological revolutions before, and now they are doing so again.
I have also been buying nothing but Apple/Mac computers since 1989. They often make revolutions, and sometimes they unmake them. When the next OS lets me play my Hypercard stacks, I will believe that they will make a good custodian for the BIS legacy.
Until then, au revoir and bonne chance.
Merci pour tous les pêches.

Comment by Marcus DiBenedetto - October 5, 2023 (17 of 28)

This morning, I was listening to the Chiaroscuro String Quartet, specifically Beethoven: String Quartets 4-6 - Chiaroscuro Quartet, which I enjoy very much. I noticed their albums were produced by BIS. I wonder what will happen to them now. Apple is in the music distribution business. I seriously doubt they will record/master new titles. Time will tell.

EDIT: eClassical is offering a 50% discount (code naxos50kp). No end date listed. I was able to pick up the last three recordings by the Chiaroscuro String Quartet for my collection in surround using the discount.

Comment by John Bacon-Shone - October 7, 2023 (18 of 28)

I trust Bissie and Apple more than I do the unfounded speculation here!

I quote from a Steve Hoffmann Music Forum thread (Classical SACD and Conversation):

"I contacted Robert von Bahr via Facebook (we're friends :)) and expressed my concerns about future SACDs, streaming platforms, etc., and here is his brief response:

Don’t be. Business as usual, incl SACDs.
Thanks for asking - best - Robert"

Comment by Athenaeus - October 7, 2023 (19 of 28)

As soon as Apple buys BIS, they close the label's online store and they send out a communiqué that trumpets streaming and applications, but makes no mention of physical products. Gee! I wonder why we started to speculate that BIS might stop making SACDs...

And Apple is an information technology giant with no particular expertise in producing classical music. Why worry? What could possibly go wrong?!

Okay, I'm relieved to hear that BIS will continue issuing physical products.

However, we're not Robert's buddy on Facebook. We're just his lowly customers. So, we have to go by whatever information BIS or Apple deign to share with the general public.

Comment by Longjohns and Wifebeaters - October 8, 2023 (20 of 28)

"However, we're not Robert's buddy on Facebook. We're just his lowly customers. So, we have to go by whatever information BIS or Apple deign to share with the general public."

Didn't he also publicly mention in his statement that BIS will keep its staff intact?

That's including the producers and their teams.

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