Cover image of Seonveh


Stein-Erik Olsen

Elise Båtnes

Egil Haugland

Njål Vindenes

Gro Sandvik

Christian Eggen

Daniel Dalnoki

Ida Bryhn

Torunn Stavseng


Guitar Quintet

SEONVEH for three guitars

Double Concerto for Flute, Guitar and String Orchestra

Six Pieces For Six Strings

Last year guitarist Stein-Erik Olsen released the critically acclaimed album “Havana – Rio – Moscow”, inviting Academy of St. Martin in The Fields for a musical collaboration. On his new disc “SEONVEH” he has invited crème de la crème of Norwegian musicians for a salutation to Norwegian composer Ketil Hvoslef.

A maverick composer

Hvoslef is one of Norway’s most respected composers. Productive, with a non-dogmatic approach to art, his music is often characterized as a result of the ability to combine the simple with the complex. Rhythmically clever, with a sense of the unpredictable, the music of Hvoslef hits a certain nerve. Early in his career he was fascinated by the expressional force and timbral versatility of the guitar. Stein-Erik Olsen studied with Hvoslef from 1973 until 1977, and has performed and recorded several of the composer’s guitar works.

Works from 1966 until 2011

“Six pieces for six strings” is a solo suite that was written early in Hvoslef’s career as a composer, and in many ways it is the odd one out in this recording. Early in the 1960s, Hvoslef was mostly into visual art, and to this day he still says that he visualizes both musician and instrument when he composes music. Double Concerto for flute and guitar (1977) depicts a love affair between guitar and flute. In Guitar Quintet (2004) Hvoslef explores the unusual instrumentation of guitar and string quartet, incorporating the guitar into the quartet sound in an exquisite and unconventional manner. SEONVEH (2011) for three guitars is written in close collaboration with the trio performing it on this recording, something Hvoslef himself described as “a dream for a composer”. SEONVEH is a colourful and extensive work, where Hvoslef pushes the limits as for what can be played on classical guitar. An extraordinary work for an extraordinary combination of instruments.

Outstanding artists and production

Stein-Erik Olsen, presenting his 10th album with Simax Classics, is in the front line of an ‘all star’ artistic lineup: The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra conducted by Christian Eggen, a string quartet led by Elise Båtnes, flautist and long time collaborator Gro Sandvik, and of course guitarists Njål Vindenes and Egil Haugland. Producer is Simon Kiln, engineer Arne Akselberg – both from Abbey Road Studios.


"What wonderful music! I thank and congratulate Stein-Erik Olsen for delivering this gift to the guitar world. The guitar part is brilliant rendering by Olsen, and the sonority of the Quartet seems almost impossible to have achieved. Perhaps it was the mixing and editing at Abbey Road Studios; there has been some wizardly work done there!"
-Al Kunze, Soundboard USA 2016

"Ketil Hvoslef is (without a shadow of a doubt in my view) not just one of the finest Norwegian composers currently writing but one of the finest writing anywhere at the moment. One proof of that is this fabulous disc, which is simply the best disc of guitar music – and guitar playing – I have ever encountered in a very long time. Stein-Erik Olsen, with a variety of colleagues (unaccompanied in the six Pieces from 1966, the earliest work here) is of highest quality throughout.

My favourite work, however, is the Double Concerto (1977) cast, like SEONVEH, in a single captivating movement. Gro Sandvik is the sweet-tongued flautist and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra accompany sensitively. Top-notch sound from Simax, too. If you only buy one disc this month, make it this one."
-Klassisk Musikkmagasin, Norway 2016

"Stein-Erik Olsen entlockt seiner von Daniel Friederich gebauten Gitarre ein außergewöhnliches Spektrum an Klangfarben und Nuancen der Schattierung. Die spieltechnisch extremen Anforderungen meistert er mit frappierender Lockerheit und unmittelbar sich übertragendem Verständnis des musikalischen Gehalts. Dynamische Feinheiten bringt er überzeugend und ungekünstelt ans Licht, die stetig wiederkehrenden Motive meißelt er mit charakteristischer Kontur heraus. Auch das Zusammenspiel der drei Gitarristen wirkt hier kein bisschen nivellierend, die drei Stimmen mischen sich sofort und fusionieren zu einer hinreißend vollendeten Einheit."
-Oliver Fraenzke, (Germany)