PRISON POEMS. 18. March I had the first performance of PRISON POEMS. The inspiration for this work came from the poems written by Mahvash Sabet, adapted to English by the author Bahiyyih Nakhjavani (ISBN:978-0-85398-569-3; George Ronald Publishers
One of my first thoughts when I was going to set these poems to music was: I don’t want to have the texts sung. They are too naked, too pared down; they are so authentic that I don’t want to embellish them and thereby jeopardize their credibility. I chose rather to use actual sound recordings in order to create a sound scenography around the poems to give the reader something one might call a “mood space.” I chose a solo flute to present the emotional content of the poems. In preparing the music I selected a couple of intervals from a prayer chanted by her fellow prisoner, Fariba Kamalabadi’s Iranian scales use intervals that are not found on Western instruments, and flutist Maiken Mathiesen Schau has had to invent new fingerings on the flute for almost every note she plays: a tremendous rehearsing feat that has led to a brilliant result. Mats Claesson assisted my competently in producing the sound-files. The last poem we get to hear is Mahvash’s account of a fellow prisoner who dies, a poor, forgotten soul whom the prison guards sweep into a plastic bag in order to get rid of her. But Mahvash is a witness, and she gives witness to what she sees with great empathy for the fate of the other person, lifting the soul of the dead up towards God. This is what Mahvash’s spiritual triumph and transcendence consists in: she sees the other, the fellow human being, with a love that belongs to another world. While composing, it suddenly became clear to me that I had to conclude the work with a choral piece, and I chose a text by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, a central figure of the Bahá’í Faith, namely a prayer for the dead. Fortunately, cantor Vivianne Sydnes was willing to perform this with the Cathedral Choir. A report and interview was posted here: Baha'i World News Service
The Sound of Arctic. I have been working since last autumn on this major commission from the North Norwegian Symphony Orchestra. This spring I finished a major symphonic movement, a HYMN to the UNTOUCHED. While it is intended as the last movement of the full work (which will last about one hour), it will be premiered already this autumn (27. September in Tromsø; 28. September in Bodø) before the orchestra goes on a concert tour to Japan (11. -19. October) with this piece as well as other. The WP of the complete Sound of Arctic is planned to happen June 2018.
Cittá della luce. I have just finished the second proof reading of my symphonic concerto for piano and orchestra. The concerto is the third one in a series of concertos that all place a concertino around the soloist (the previous concertos are for solo cello, and for solo viola). In the case of the piano concerto, the concertino consists in a vibraphone, a marimba, and harp. The concerto has been commissioned by the young pianist Christian Ihle Hadland and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. The first performance is set to 16. November.
SPRANG. I am also looking forward to a performance of this concerto for two violins and string orchestra 14.th October during the Frankofoni-festival. The soloists will be Ragnhild and Eldbjørg Hemsing, and the orchestra the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra.
Other performances. There have been other performances this spring of my music: Einar Steen-Nøkleberg has played Solspill several times during his concerts. Nordic Voices keep programming Solbøn og Himmelske Fader on their concert tours world wide.
Courses on Aural Sonology. In February I spent three days lecturing about Aural Sonology (Aural Sonology) at KU-Leuven. I was invited by professor Mark Delaere to train 5 Phd students in using the Aural Sonology methods. The musicology department had advertised a number of Phd scholarships for making analyses of sound-based, instrumental music. The focus of my opening lecture, to which the entire staff of the musicology department was invited, was on the phenomenon of Emergence: “In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art emergence is a phenomenon whereby larger entities arise through interactions among smaller or simpler entities such that the larger entities exhibit properties the smaller/simpler entities do not exhibit….” The seminar was also attended by professor Marc Decouprie from Nice, who came with the single purpose of following the introduction.
In April I was invited by Stockholms universitet to comment on a Phd thesis under preparation by Elif Balk?r. The title of the forthcoming thesis is: “L’étude comparative des approches créatrices et technologiques au GRM (Groupe de Recherches Musicales) de Paris et à l’EMS (Elektronmusikstudion) de Stockholm: deux directions artistiques différentes à partir d’une idée commune”. The thesis makes extensive use of the Aural Sonology methods of analysis. The tutors of the project are professor Jakob Derkert-Rosenberg of Stockholms Universitet and professor Marc Battier of Sorbonne.
Spectral Mergers. In between composing I managed to write a paper (entitled “Spectral Mergers”) on the introduction of spectral music to Norway in the 1980ies, and in particular present a few analyses of my double concerto “Illuminations” (or in French: “Les Enluminures”) which, I am sure, is the first piece of spectral music written in Norway. The paper awaits the verdict of the editorial committee of “Twentieth Century Music”.
A few days ago – August 19 - my composition SolSirkler had its world premier in the Aula of the University of Oslo. The occasion was the centenary of Edvard Munch’s paintings for the hall. 11 composers had been commissioned to write a piece for each of the 11 paintings. I had the privilege to write music for the central picture: The Sun. My 8 minutes piece was written for a piano quintet and bass-baryton. The excellent performers were Engegårdkvartetten, Håvard Gimse (piano) and Yngve André Søberg (bass baryton). The hall and the pictures of the hall can be seen here:
New CD with music for flute and piano
Maiken Mathiesen Schau and Trond Schau have recorded most of my music for flute and piano, as well as a few piano pieces. Brilliant and devoted performances, and brilliant sound from 2L. The CD is available for sale already, although the official release of the CD only will happen 29 October 1400 in the Arena, Moss (Trond and Maiken’s home city). Have a look here:
New CD with piano music
Yet another CD has just been released: The pianist Vebjørn Anvik has recorded my three Invocations (of Pristine Light, of Rising Air, of Crystal Waters) and my Stages of the Inner Dialogue. He combines my music with Ravel’s Miroirs. Olaf Eggestad has written a profound essay for the CD.
The Arne Næss Symposium.
Just a few days earlier, Maiken Mathiesen-Schau performed my Eco-fanfare at the opening symposium of the Arne Næss Chair. See a video with Maiken and the fanfare under >Links.
The vocal sextet Nordic Voices has been singing Solbøn, sometimes also Himmelske Fader on most of their concerts this spring, They report overwhelming applause for the piece, so they go on singing it. The two pieces were also performed during the Other Minds Festival in SanFrancisco this spring.
The pianist Einar Steen-Nøkleberg has performed Solbøn on several occasions during concerts both in Norway and abroad, and he too can tell about positive reactions from his audiences.
CITTA DELLA LUCE
This spring I finished composing a 27 minutes’ long symphonic concerto for piano and orchestra, entitled Cittá della Luce. The World premier will be in autumn 2017 with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Christian Ihle Hadland who commissioned it.
The Danish flutist, Marie Sønderskov, will perform Interplay as part of her Debut concert.
The young violinist Sander Tingstad performed YR as part of his final exam in June.
Alexander Myklebust has invited me for a discussion with the music philosopher Peder Christian Kierschow in a “salon” for music philosopy. The discussion takes place in the evening 24 October in Produksjonsrom 1, Sentralen., Øvre Slottsgate, Oslo.
Hva inspirerte Nordraak til?
This is the title of a concert lecture Saturday 26 november, 13 -1530. The musical heritage of Nordraak will be discussed, and Sander Tingstad will perform YR.
The Sound of Arctic
I am now working on a major piece of music, commissioned by the North-Norwegian Symphony Orchestra. The have given me the working title Sound of Arctic. To get me in the right mood, they have sent me to Spitzbergen two times – the last time on board a research vessel that visited a number of localities on the west coast of Svalbard with a number of people involved in arctic research and related activities. Karin Aarskog followed the expedition with her camera. She filmed a conversation between and Børge Damsgård, dean of UNIS, the University Centre in Longyearbyen, while we standing in front of a glacier.
A full photo documentation of the expedition can be seen here, including at the end a video of the blue-whale we sighted.
The arctic, its nature, and its fauna are increasingly fascinating me. I return there shortly to stay one week at Ny-Ålesund, in a hut there. The administration at this little community of researchers has promised me a quick introduction to rifle shooting, so I can be free to hike around in the fantastic nature without fear of being devoured by polar bears.
My next WP
My next WP is also under production: music inspired by Prison Poems, a collection of Poems written by Mahvash Sabet who still is imprisoned in Iran because of her faith. The translator, Bahihiyyih Nakhjavani will be there to read the poems. The concert is 18 March 2017 in Gamle Aker Kirke. Maiken Mathiesen Schau will be the flute soloist of the piece, Mats Claesson will assist in the production of the electroacoustic sound track.
During the nineteen seventies and -eighties, Norway’s national television (NRK)made a number of productions with contemporary music, and occasional interviews. NRK has now made these programs available. Under <links historically interested individuals may find out more about my youthful productions – as well as an extensive interview made by the now late Eivind Solaas.
First performance of HAYKAL by Trondheim Symphony Orchestra 21. January
The piece (appr 8’) has been commissioned by the Orchestra. It will be conducted by Nicholas Collon
Lectures in Californa.
I will hold a number of lectures on my music and aural sonology at CalArts, San Francisco University, and Djerassi Resident Artists Program in Woodside, CA. This will happen late February. It is the festival Other Minds that sponsors the travel. My vocal pieces Solbøn and Himmelske Fader will be performed by ‘Nordic Voices’ during the OTHER MINDS Festival in San Francisco.
Publication of a paper analysing the music of Helmuth Lachenmann:
A paper that I presented at the Euromac conference in Leuven, Belgium 2014 has been edited and peer reviewed, and will appear in a French anthology, published by Delatour. The title of the paper is: “Analyse perceptive des formes emergentes. Une approche gestaltiste de l’analyse musicale “. The paper includes a spectromorphological analysis of a movement from Helmuth Lachenmann’s opera « Das Mädchen mit den Scwefelhölzern ».
The analysis is demonstrated by a movie produced with the Aural Sonology Plug-in of the Acousmograph. The anthology will be released in early spring.
Recording of new piano pieces
Two piano pieces I wrote last year as part of the Reflective Musician project at the Norwegian Academy of music will be recorded by Vebjørn Anvik in March. The pieces are part of a major opus still under work, and will eventually comprise invocations of the four elements. Vebjørn will also the record the third Invocation that I wrote a few years ago. The final Invocation is not yet composed…
Presentation at the European Chamber Music Associations conference in Oslo:
”Metre and Musical Meaning. What does a rubato achieve?” (Beginning of April.) Referanse
Participation at ICMS XIII in Canterbury, England:
Recently I was listed as Honorary Member of the International Music Signification Project. Noblesse oblige, as they say. So I thought I should present a paper in this year’s conference. The headline is: The semioses of musical communication.”
Forthcoming publication on Metre-as-heard – and Rachmaninoff’s rubato playing.
Last year I wrote a paper, based on my presentation at the Orpheus Institute in Ghent, Belgium last spring. The paper is now under peer-review. It will eventually appear in the publication series of the Orpheus Institute: Extreme interpretation? Some observations on Rachmaninoff’s version of Chopin’s Third Ballade in Ab Major.
Resumé of important earlier events (before December 2015)
It is an understatement to say that I have neglected updating the NEWs chapter of my web page. While I generally have been able to catch the more salient performances under the heading SCHEDULE, I owe potential readers (any?) to highlight a few events. Here is an attempt to catch up with my neglect during the last couple of years. For more details on dates and more performances, see SCHEDULE.
Release of ”Emergent Musical Forms. Aural Explorations”.
17 November 2015 my book on aural analysis of music was released during the opening of the Symposium “Unfolding the Process” at the Norwegian Academy of Music. The book (637 pages, published as Volume 24 of Studies in Music at the University of Western Ontario) is more than forty years in the making, being the final documentation of the Aural Sonology Project at the Norwegian Academy of Music. It is accompanied by a web page that presents a number of the analyses as films. See more information on the book here (LINK to pamphlet).
This is a piece (appr. 15’) that I wrote for an Ottoman ensemble (The Sarband Ensemble directed by Vladimir Ivanoff) and The Latvian Radio Choir (Conducted by Kaspars Putninsh). The piece was one of five commissions by the Radio Choir, and was prepared through seminars in Marseilles (during TENSO days 2013) and Riga (summer and autumn 2014). All the composers availed themselves of texts from the Canticles. The world premier took place in March 2015 in Oslo during the International Church Music Festival. The work was also performed during the Arena Festival in Riga in November; then recordings were made of the music.
Tuamna Musicalá Clujeaná
Trond Schau (piano) and Maiken Mathiesen Schau (flute) played Sea of Names and Stages of the Inner Dialogue at a festival in Cluj in October.
Masterclasses and round table discussion at Gheorghe Dima Music Academy in Cluj, Romania
A number of concerts in Italy in October 2015
The organisation She Lives , run by Fabiana Piersanti and Guidio Barbieri, had arranged a number of concerts with my music: YR was performed by Stephano Minore, SPRANG by Orchestra del Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, with Solisti Aquilani in Ancona and L’Aquile, soloistis: Conductor Gabriele Bonolis.
Presentation and Interview at Fondazione Isabella Scelsi.
I happen to have been the first one to set the composer Giacinto Scelsi’s poems to music. This was the background for me being invited for this presentation, which happened in collaboration with She Lives. The event was streamed live. Hear Here! was performed by Francesco Prode on Schelsi’s grand piano, and I myself played “Solspill” LINK
The music I wrote with Scelsi’s poems is entitled Mythes Étoilées. It was created as the outcome of the Concrescence Project with the Latvian Radio Choir in 2010. The music is recorded and published.
Information on the Concrescence Project is available under research at this web page. For a more complete presentation see a paper published in TEMPO: PAPER
There is also a web-page with documentation on the project: WEBSITE
Performance with BBC Singers, London
My choral piece from 1995, Mon Dieu, mon adoré was performed at St. Giles Cripplegate Church in October, and it was later broadcast with a short interview
Performances in Bodø, Tromsø in September:
Performances of Løp, Lokk og Linjer with Bodø Sinfonietta, Berit Opheim soloist, conductor Øyvind Bjørå. Berit I held a presentation about the piece at Musikkonservatoriet UiT (Tromsø).
The hour long piece – a suite - were originally composed on commission by another sinfonietta, BIT 20 in Bergen in 2oo2, but written specifically for Berit’s exceptional vocal capacity. She performed the piece many times since then – including two times with Nouvelle Ensemble Musicale in Quebec.
Recording sessions in September:
Maiken and Trond Schau record some of my music for flute and piano. Recording Company: 2L. The release is expected to take in 2016. The background of the recording is the stunning success that Maiken and Trond has had when performing my flute music in Germany and Poland. As a result of this a major article on my flute music appeared in “Fløte Aktuell 2/2015: Lasse Thoresen und seine Musik für Querflöte. Harald Herresthal im Gespräch mit Maiken und Trond Schau.
World Premier at Oslo Chamber Music Festival in August 2015:
Håvard Gimse gave a fantastic performance of the long version of my piano piece Hear Here! during a concert in Universitetets Aula, Oslo
CD recording of Solspill:
Solspill (solo piano) released was released during spring 2015 on CD with Ingfrid Breie Nyhus. Ingfrid’s interpretation is deeply original, and reveals unexpected details of the music. See WEBSITE
In April I gave the final lectures and masterclasses at McGill , ending two years’ guest-professorship financed by Fondation Langlois, and facilitated by Professor Denys Bouliane. AbUno was performed by student ensemble, conductor Guilaume Bourgogne. Not only so, the same week AbUno was performed in Palau de Musica, Barcelona, as part of Bernat Vivanco’s being composer-in-residence there. Prior to these concerts I had the performance materials upgraded and published at Pizzicato Verlag Helvetia.
Lectures at the Orpheus Institute, Ghent
In April I presented two lectures at Orpheus:
• Reflective Listening: Between Composition, Performance, and Research.
• Extreme interpretation: Some observations on Rachmaninoff’s version of Chopin’s Third Ballade in Ab Major.
April: First performances
Invocation of Pristine Light and Invocation of Rising Air were premiered during the Reflective Musician Festival in Oslo. In addition performances of Invocation of Crystal Waters. Pianists: Vebjørn Anvik, Håkon Austbø, Yejin Gil. LINK
Work that celebrates the Norwegian Constitution of 1814.
Festspillene Bergen commissioned a major work from me to celebrate the Norwegian Constitution of 1814. My idea was to question whether the democracy of the free is capable of confronting a major ethical question of our times: the impending ecological catastrophe. In fact, when the identity of the Norwegian nation was to be constructed in the 19 hundreds, the poets’, painters’ and musicians’ rendering turned to nature. So my one hour-long piece was built through portraying the nations relationship to nature through 200 years. An important part of this was the use of sound documents that I had extracted from the Norwegian Radio archives. The title of the pieces was Grønne Glimt av en nasjonshistorie (Green Fragments from the History of a Nation). It was scored for 6 singers (Nordic Voices), violin, cello, harp, accordion and percussion, as well as electroacoustic sound.
Grieg Trio plays The Descent of Luminous Waters in Shanghai.
Since they commissioned the work in 2003, the Grieg Trio has kept this piano trio on their concert programs. Here is a video recording of their concert in Shanghai: VIDEO
The violinist Ragnhild Hemsing has played my folksy piece for solo violin at innumerable concerts – and at some of them her husband, Hallgrim Hansegård, is dancing – a fusion of Norwegian traditional dance steps with break dance and modern dance. Here is a YouTube video of their common performance: VIDEO
Recently I was made aware that the American/Swedish violinist Gregory made also has given a couple of dozen performances of YR, mainly in the US.
SOLBØN. HIMMELSKE FADER
A few years ago I wrote four pieces based on Norwegian folk music for the vocal sextet. They earned me the Nordic Music Prize in 2010. Nordic Voices seem to love the two pieces mentioned above very much, and – it seems to me – they very often include one of these in their concerts. The vocal capacity to perform this pieces that involves mastery of microtonality (non-tempered modes of Norwegian Folk Music) and overtone-singing was developed through the first Concrescence Project that ended in 2006). All of opus 42 is recorded: LINK
Release of CD with Mythes Etoilées – Latvian Radio Choir.
Finally, a CD with Mythes Etoilées was released. The piece is a setting of a poem by Giacinto Scelsi – the first one made of any of his poems, evidently. The pieces was written to consummate the second Concrescence project, which was done with the Latvian Radio Choir in 2009. Five other composers took part in the process and contributed their music.
A video recording of the second movement is found on YouTube