Many years ago, I transcribed a couple of my grandfathers compositions. He apparently never wrote them down so I had to do it myself. I am probably biased since I grew up with this music, but I really cannot think of any other music which represents the guitar as well as some of Ulriks best music. There is a depth, and warmth, and yet it is so clear and simple. Most people in Scandinavia has come across his Love Waltz (Kärleksvals) at some point but that particular composition has never been one of my absolute favorites. There are actually a few others, which I like alot more and I have always felt that those compositions should be more readily available.
It wasn’t until a few years later, when I got the idea to write a thesis on Ulriks music at the University of Lund, when I really started to dig into Ulriks music. To narrow down this project, I chose to only focus on his music for solo guitar. Ulrik wrote a lot of music for all kinds of settings, but I am particularly fond of his compositions for solo guitar. Perhaps, it did not look like a very big project at the outset, but I soon found out that Ulrik for some reason never wrote down some of his compositions and others were recorded and notated in multiple versions. I went through the family’s archives, all CDs and LPs of his, and checked all his registered works for lesser known compositions. I compiled a complete list of his compositions and started to transcribe them all. Ulrik had issued quite a few sheet music collections, but they’re ridded with copy mistakes which some times were very hard to spot. This transcription and correction process was an ongoing project for a few years. I am very proud, and happy to say that I now have collected all Ulriks compositions for solo guitar and we will publish the complete works.
I discussed the sheet music collection with my father, Mikael, and we came up with the idea of recording all the music. Mikael called guitarist extraordinaire Göran Söllscher, who is a dear friend of our family, and asked him if he would be willing to record a few compositions. He was very positive, which instantly made this project seem very realistic. Göran got the first pick and chose four compositions – Dedicated my Guitar, Henriette, Lullaby for “Sniff”, and Cherí. He had already recorded Love Waltz on his bestselling Deutsche Grammophon CD/LP “Cavatina” so he did not want to re-record that song. Mikael had met with Mats Bergström many years ago, and it was only natural that we called upon Mats for this project. He got second pick, and surely wasn’t surprised when he learned that Göran had picked Cherí and Lullaby for “Sniff”. Mats chose to play Solregn, Canzonetta, Jazz prelude, and Scherzo in A minor. All guitarists on this CD made a fantastic job, and I know I should not single out anyone, but Mats version of Solregn gives me goose bumps every single time I hear it, so I just cannot help to tell you.
Christer Karlberg has been a a very close friend to the family for many, many years. He knew Ulrik very well, and was of course happy to record some of his music. Christer plays about as much classical music as he does jazz and it was only natural that he would play the crossover compositions. More specifically, the bossa nova/samba inspired compositions. Ulriks son, Mikael, decided to play Melancolique, two childrens songs, the Heather Flower, and two pieces from a play called “Ballad of the sad café”.
Ulrik wrote about 30 compositions for solo guitar, so I still had a few to choose from. I had actually saved The tale of the TV in the forest, as it’s one of my personal favorites. I also took the chance to play Toy Train, which most likely is the most significant of this compositions, since it blends jazz and classical guitar technique in a way, which made Ulrik famous. I was chosen to play Love Waltz, and considering that it is his most played composition, and that it has been played fantastically many times over, gave me something to really work for. Lastly, I play a composition for piano called Jazz with a touch of Bach, which I transcribed for guitar. Needless to say, this is a very hard piece to play, but I still think it is valuable as it really shows Ulriks love of mixing classical music, in particular baroque, with jazz.
It was an honor to work with Göran, Mats and Christer, and they are just as fantastic musicians, as they are fine men. We hope you enjoy listening to this CD as much as we enjoyed working with it. Everyone brought a lot of love into the project, and I believe you will feel that.
Tobias Neumann, Höllviken 2011
ps. As the CD does not contain all Ulriks compositions for solo guitar, I have decided to record the “missing” ones later this year. For Ulrik 2 (working name), will only be availble digitally.