As if sculpted in sound

During almost ten years the idea of ’Journey through three valleys’ have circulated in Lasse Thoresen’s mind.  The result is a symphonic stretch of gleaming qualities

Ida Habbestad  08. november 2008, Dagsavisen

«Reise gjennom tre daler»
Verk av Lasse Thoresen og Joseph Haydn
Med: Truls Mørk, Oslo-filharmonien, Jukka-Pekka Saraste
Oslo Konserthus

With a big orchestra at his disposition, - which however often was used in chamber music setting – a number of engaging dialogues took place between the cello solo and other solo instruments when Thoresen’s new work had its world premier Thursday.  The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra with maestro Jukka-Pekka Saraste were the final commissioners of project that partly has been left lingering between different institutions after Truls Mørk initiated the project in 1999. In 2008 Thoresen turned the usual placement of the orchestra upside down.  He moved the strings to the back of the sate, and the winds to the front. This gave a refreshing visual variation and as a result of the instrumentation placed the soloist in the foreground of the sound.

This lays the ground for a colourful work.  The composer could take his point of departure in the different registers of the cello, which he reinforced and elegantly complemented through the other performers.  Through the encounter with different instruments various characters were lifted out; in one moment, the tenor register, seeming as an adult, in the next a tender and shining timbre – like a young person’s voice.  In this way the work appeared to be a study in a number of shades founded in and sculpted by the sonorities.
As the title specifies the composition depicts a journey through three valleys – metaphorical ones, according to the composer who contends they refer to states of mind.  This idea could easily be traced from the initial Ricercare (’search’), with its groping trills, glissandi, and hesitating melodic fragments – a consistent unrest that permeated the whole movement. In Serenata (here a song of love) there was a suggestion of solace, interrupted by a menacing escalation towards the Fuga (flight or escape). The instrumentation, that until this point had been slender, now extended itself to the full, corresponding to a similar climax in full orchestra in the Finale. The final cadence of the soloist was characterized by gleaming overtones. It was reminiscent of the opening, but now it had opened for a new other peacefulness.

At the same time the title gave association to external landscapes.  The composer has worked much with traditional music from the East as well as that from his home country – and although one did not hear much of the folk music, the music easily gave associations to the natural images of wide mountain expanses and the endless ocean. The music gleamed and shone as sunrays on lapping waves, or as merciless winds over mountain ranges.  And in the end:  a bath of light as if it all was a mirage.

In whichever way one would interpret the many passages, the work was well presented.  The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra played up to its very best, as did also Truls Mørk, who yet again gave proof of his admirable and multifaceted sound.





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