THOMAS VON WACHENFELDT – Malleus Clericum, DigiCD
Thomas von Wachenfeldt’s 2010 album “Malleus Clericum – Hinslåtar, näckvalser och häxdanser” (‘The Clergy Hammer – Devil-songs, sprite-waltzes, and witch-dances’) is a solo violin masterpiece consisting of 25 tracks rooted in traditional Swedish folk music and lore.
This album is primarily a listening experience – a flight of the imagination – rather than for dancing. Despite the lone instrument, the compositions are versatile enough and the playing is so spellbinding that it never grows tedious. From the sinister energy of “Djävulspolskan” (‘The Devil's Polska’) to the more melancholic interpretations of ‘Näcklåtar’, which are tunes associated with the mythical water spirit Näcken. Many of these pieces were originally known as ‘bravurlåtar’ (bravura tunes), a term specific to the Swedish musical tradition for songs that showcase not only the fiddler's virtuosity but also his connection to the spirit world.