Cover image of Blue sonata

Blue sonata

Stein-Erik Olsen

John W. Duarte: Nuages passantes, op.102

Antonio Bibalo: Study in Blue, (1983)

Johan Kvandal: Sonata, op.65 (1985-86)

Benjamin Britten: Nocturnal after Johan Dowland, op.70 (1963)

Guitar music from the cold North

Guitarists are by no means alone in playing arrangements of music originally written for other media, but they have perhaps made much more use of them than have players of other instruments; this had helped to create the impression that the guitar lacks original repertory – and to conceal the fact that this is not true. There is also a popular belief that the “natural home” of the guitar is in the Hispanic countries, where “romance” and sunshine abound, but the guitar now belongs equally to the colder North, not least to Norway.

On the album “Blue Sonata”, guitarist Stein-Erik Olsen performs the astonishingly beautiful works written specifically for the guitar by John W. Duarte, Johan Kvandal, Antonio Bibalo and Benjamin Britten – works that evoke genres and moods spanning from jazz and dodecaphony, to folk and renaissance music. The guitarist himself made his highly acclaimed debut at London´s Wigmore Hall, a concert that made him a much sought after soloist and won him unreserved admiration amongst his peers.


“The playing here is compelling”.
-Gramophone UK

"Here is another excellent programme of contemporary guitar music played with great authority by the Norwegian guitarist Stein-Erik Olsen. …I can give no higher praise. This is an excellent recording – don't let the contemporary writing put you off, the music is tremendous.
-Classical Guitar UK

"The evenness and masterful realization of all details and the brilliant clarity in the passages are most impressive. Furthermore – as in earlier releases with Stein-Erik Olsen – there is an obvious will to utilize the entire expressive range of the instrument. It is a luxuriant recording."
-Aftenposten april 1988 (Norway)

"Stein-Erik Olsen displays an amazing technique in Bibalo's eruptive “Study in Blue”, and has enough of it left over to elegantly flirt with bluesy microtones."
-Bergens Tidende 87 (Norway)