Mixed Concert I Tuesday, September the 6th
Mixed Concert I Tuesday, September the 6th - Lasse Thoresen
Lasse Thoresen has been described as a composer of contradictions. He has demonstrated the ability to meld the seemingly incompatible, such as European avant-gardism and Norwegian folk traditions, into carefully crafted pieces of music. Thoresen tempers his meticulous craftsmanship with a firm belief in old-fashioned intuition. Of course everything fits!
His compositions reflect Thorcsen's belief in a fluid aesthetics as opposed to rigid form. Whatever you have to do to get the message across to the listener is fine by him.
Thoresen (b. 1949) set out to re-assemble the shattered mirror of post-modernism into a flowing elegance reflecting the totality to which mankind belongs. His work questions the autism of modernism, while it recognizes the fertility of modernist material. He opposes post-modernism's rejection of all value standards, claiming that this tends to alienate the individual.
Thoresen's compositions smoothe the contradiction between technique and emotion through his faith in music as the harbinger of "universal meaning."
Yr was commissioned by NorConcert, The Concert Institute of Norway, for a tour of Norway. The title has several meanings: as a noun it means drizzle; as an adjective it can mean both lightheaded and swarming.
Both the style and tonality of this work are related to the Norwegian folk fiddle tradition, but the character of each single sound has been duly analyzed: shiny or rough, polished or grainy, they are "sound spires" reproducing themselves in changing patterns. " Yr is partly a state of mind, partly a slowly descending mass of tiny, luminous particles."
Pekka Jalkanen was first recognized as a composer in 1968, when he began to create music for children's television programs. He demonstrates an individual, highly personalized style that veers from the course of most mainstream Finnish composers. "Children's music must operate on many levels, and it must have planes that simultaneously turn it into music for adults." he says.
Jalkanen (b. 1945) earned his first degree in music from the University of Helsinki in 1975, followed by a doctorate in 1989. After experimenting with various techniques, he discovered his true style in Halla-Nijjht Frost, written for a short film.
His goal is to chart new territory in the realm of children's music. By ridding it of cloying sentiment, commercialism and pedantry, he aims to enrich the genre. Pekka underlines the importance of listening to the children themselves. His most important work to date is the opera, Tirlittan, which was performed by a cast of children.
Written for two concert kanteles, Siemen contains elements of certain ethnic and modal music cultures. Pekka Jalkanen has chosen the kantele, the national folk instrument of Finland, for its long after-effects, the underlying repetition and rich tonal qualities, although the piece contains no real themes from folk music.
"The Finnish word, siemen (seed), tells everything that is essential in my work: all ideas from the mustard seed to the ejaculation are acceptable," says Jalkanen.
The thematic kernel of the work is found in the second interval which alternately is reduced to micro-intervals, or enlarged to tone and rhyme fields built by the clusters and scales.
Compose with the players in mind and not theories or structural modals. That's the guideline Stellan Sagvik uses when writing his works. Sagvik (b. 1952) had already written some 50 opus numbers before studying composition at the Swedish State College of Music, in 1972-1975. In fact, his first tunes were composed at age six, when he got tired of playing the music in his recorder book.
The formal education tempered his indefatigable style with structured knowledge. He recasted some earlier works and began to recycle older material, led by the premise that he was making music, not sound.
Sagvik has been an active theater and studio musician. He was musical director at the Uppsala-Gavle town theater in 1979-81. He has composed more than 140 works, explaining that ideas take their time to germinate, but when ripe they go down quickly on paper.
...a dream attack on the stomach ...
Power kicks, double up
Wait... and it will come
Shortly after an ambitious and highly successful debut in 1977, Helge Slaatto was hired as concertmastcr of the symphony orchestra in Ulm, Germany. His violin career blossomed, and today he holds an equivalent post in Denmark.
Slaatto (b. 1952) studied in Oslo with Marlis Bonn and Ernst Glaser, and abroad with Maria Lidka, Max Rostal, Sandor Vegh and Dorothy Delay.
Since 1977, he has appeared regularly at the Montepulciano Festival in Italy, playing under, among other conductors, Sandor Vegh and Hans Werner Henze.
The Norwegian had his London debut in Wigmore Hall's Purcell Room in 1980. That year, along with other leading musicians, he was invited to participate in Vegh's "Open Chamber Music" festival in south England. He has played with the Koenig Ensemble in London, which specializes in the modern repertoire.
His playing has won Slaatto acclaim in many European countries. Over the years, he has received several grants. He has played in radio recordings with the West Dcutscher Rundfunk, BBC, Radio Televisione Italiana, Danish Broadcasting Corporation and NRK.
Since the autumn of 1984, Helge Slaatto has been concertmaster with the Odense Symphony Orchestra, and taught chamber music at the Funen Conservatory.
Frans Hansen (b. 1955) graduated as a percussion music teacher and soloist from the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus in 1983. Since then, he has performed with the Elsinore Players, the Janus Ensemble and Danish Piano Theatre. He now plays in the Touche percussion trio and the Tokntukahh Ensemble, and in a duo with the guitarist Karl Petersen.
Frans Hansen teaches music theater, new music and percussion at the Aarhus and Odensc conservatories.
In her music career, Ritva Koistinen (b. 1956) has focused on the kantele, winning many prizes for her work with the instalment, among them the Kalevala Society's 1993 prize for young artistes. She has a comprehensive record of solo, duet and chamber concert performances in the Nordic and Baltic countries and the former Soviet Union. In autumn 1993, her solo recording, New Finnish Kantele ^ was released.
Koistinen studied the kantele under Tyyne Nikko from 1963, and went on to study the violin at the Joensuus Institute of Music and the Sibelius Academy, graduating as a teacher of violin in 1981.
Since then, she has taught violin and kantele at the same two institutes.
With two years still to go at the Sibelius Academy, Sari Hukari last summer won first prize in a nationwide ensemble competition on the kantele. Hukari and her kantele teacher at the academy, Ritva Koistinen, have given many concerts where new works for their unusual instrument have been introduced.
Sari Hukari (b. 1970) began playing the kantele as a six-year-old under the instruction of her father, the Finnish kantele builder Unto Tononen. In the autumn of 1989, Sari was accepted into the Sibelius Academy's solo program for the kantele, and began her studies with Ritva Koistinen.
Hukari teaches her instrument at, among other places, the Helsinki Institute of Music.
Over the last five years, Thomas Sandberg has made his mark on the Danish new music scene as a solo percussionist and chamber player. Sandberg, who maintains a active concert schedule in and outside Denmark, has played at all the recent Danish new music festivals.
Sandberg, a member of the Athelas, Figura 6 and Sound of Choice groups, is also associated with the Danish Chamber Players.
The young percussionist (b. 1967) has performed in many radio broadcast productions. He attends the soloist class at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen.
Arnc Mellnäs has been the prime contributor of innovation and avant-guard departure to modern Swedish music. Mellnäs (b. 1935) traveled abroad extensively while studying music and composition during the 1950s and 1960s. He returned home with new ideas which he shared with fellow musicians. Mellnäs acquired a vast understanding of the potential of a broad range of instalments. During the expansive '60s, the knowledge he gathered from travel and study crystallized into a personal style, rich of mood and novelty.
Since 1963, Mellnäs has worked at the Academy of Music in Stockholm, where he was later elected a member. He serves on the board of the Society of Swedish composers, and is chairman of the Swedish ISCM-section.
Three references from literature and art inspired Arne Mellnas to use them as serve as points of departure for the three movements of Gardens. The music is not meant to depict the contents of Lewis Carroll's The Garden of Live Flowers, Hieronymous Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights, or Jorge Louis Borges's The Garden of Forking Paths. These gardens serve as a general foundation for the piece, and suggest its musical forms and compositional techniques. For instance, the very high clarinet and cello coupled to low flute and violin parts in the "upside-down world" of the first movement, along with the forking development from one voice to six voices in the final movement.
Gardens was composed in 1986 at the request of the New York New Music Ensemble.
Rolf Martinsson earned his reputation writing music for a broad range of instrumental arrangements, often with voice parts. "For a long time I have been fascinated by writing music to words.," says Martinsson (b. 1956).
"Texts often give me unexpected angles of approach to composition, emancipating my thoughts from systems and techniques. Inward listening plays a crucial part in the making of my music, and is for me the only way in which the music can acquire a meaningful content."
Martinsson studied at the State College of Music in Malmo, Sweden, where he now teaches music theory. Following this term of study, he was tutored by several prominent composers. Martinsson was one of the founders of the Malmo Young Composers Association.
Garden of Chimes
When the commission for this piece came from the National Swedish Concert Institute, Rolf Martinsson was given full freedom in choice of text and nearly free rein with the instrumental combination.
As a starting point, he chose light tone colors, and instruments to match. "I then looked for texts matching in various ways those tone colors, and the choice fell on the verses of the Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore."
The composition follows no principles of form other than those inherent in Tagore's text. "Instead, while working I let spontaneous input and ideas steer the way," says Martinsson. "My working method," he says, "can be best compared to improvisation."
The title. Garden of Chimes , is a reference to Tagore the poet. Chimes imply ringing, harmony, resonance, "and I find the thought of a resonant flower garden very beautiful."
Sten Melin's first composition premiered at the Young Nordic Composers' Festival in 1981, during his first year of composition studies. From the very first notes, Melin's music has piqued the interest of listeners. The young Swede has said his intention is to provoke those who hear his music. He does.
Sten (b. 1957) began as a trumpeter, but began studying composition with Sven-David Sandstrom in 1977. Three years later, he embarked on a five-year curriculum at the College of Music in Stockholm.
The choral composition, Landet som icke ar, and three pieces for the organ, Ossit, Nalta, and Armest are among Melin's most noted works. He holds a fascination for the craftsmanship of composition, but for him the nucleus of music cannot be reached through analysis of structure, but only by hearing its sound.
About the title: Nänns, from nännas, corresponds to the Danish nænnas (from old Swedish, nänna, Icelandic-Norwegian nänna, and essentially means "to be eager," "bold."
About the music: Nänns, like the scent of last year's cowberries when the winter snow-cover melts away.
Nänns was written for, and dedicated to, Trio des Lyres, and the piece is performed on baroque instruments. SJSA.
"Signs are important," Reine Jonsson reminds us, "and the composition process is a search for secret symbols in motifs and rhythms. Symbols that must be revealed and brought to life."
Jonsson (b. i960) was educated in musicol-ogy in Lund, and later as an arranger and composer at the College of Music in Stockholm. While learning to be an arranger, young Reine Jonsson got to know something about jazz theory, but rather quickly concluded that this wasn't his bag. "My generation doesn't think in modulations, we think modal!" says he.
Now a resident of Osterlen - far from the bustle of Stockholm - Jonsson deliberately positions himself as a Swedish new music outsider. He also positions himself in the languid movements of ancient Chinese fai chi chuan, which he considers a kind of body-and-soul avenue in his search for whatever lies between notes and phrases.
Nails That Scratch on the Wall
It's ten years now since IVc written a piece for string quartet. In a burst of joy over having found out how to read Rene Char and how to compose.
I've often found out how to compose, and even,' time the answer has been different from the previous times. This time it was about integrating rhythm and a big part of new music composing technique. When I stop to think how complex the piece is, I'm amazed that I wrote it so fast and uncomplicatedly.
Nails scratching over a wall also has to do with power, and a hard-to-cross surface - that was when I was thinking like Rene Char.
Once in a while I call the piece "horrible", but then I mean horrible in a beautiful way. R.J.
Lars A. Sandberg
The compositions of Lars Sandberg differ markedly from lyrical Nordic tradition. In terms of technique, Sandberg's relatively few works stand out for their concise and exact composition. A perfectionist, Sandberg (b. 1955) is known to place strict demands on performers1 rhythmic precision, dynamic differentiation, and changes of instrumental register.
Lars Sandberg took music at Statens Normalskola for two years, before going on in 1973-76 to study composition at the Swedish State College of Music. Following a year at the Universite de Paris, Sandberg returned to Sweden and began his career as a composer.
Sandberg's works exert force through their compact masses of sound and intricate patterns of detail. He creates forms that reveal symmetries or interwoven systematic lines of various kinds.
The music I've chosen to call I-Skick reconnoiters and checks out its material; it doesn't stem from anything that existed before the music. The music gradually grows more and more at case with itself; it can be compared with following a road.
Connected with this is something that might be called non-identical repitition. (As opposed to static and almost compulsory repetition, for instance the repetition of identical "structural elements" used to excess in much so-called minimalistic and repetitive music - the ultimate result of scrialism.) L. S.
The NM Ensemble
The NM Ensemble is a group of young, outstanding Copenhagen musicians selected according to the occasion.
After studying music at Copenhagen University, Kaare Hansen continued with conducting instruction at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen and later with Pierre Boulez. From 1983 to 1990, Hansen worked on a freelance basis with assignments at the Danish National Opera in Aarhus, the Royal Danish Theatre, and with regional orchestras, the Danish Radio Symphony, and the Radio Choir. Since 1990, Kaare Hansen has been employed as choral master at the Royal Danish Theatre.
The Kontra Quartet
Anton Kontra, violin Boris Samsing, violin Peter Fabricius, viola Morten Zcuthen, cello.
The Kontra Quartet, formed in 1973 by the distinguished concertmaster and violin soloist Anton Kontra, quickly established itself as one of the principal chamber music ensembles in Scandinavia. The virtuosity-of its individual members and catholicity of repertoire, as well as a high activity profile, have made The Kontra Quartet extremely popular at home and abroad.
In 1989, the quartet had the honor of being the first musical group in many years to be awarded the status of Danish State Ensemble, with a full-time state contract allowing even more activity in the form of tours, recordings, workshops, and other undertakings that would otherwise be possible. The quartet holds workshops for young composers, and has taught at the Darrington International Summer Schools and elsewhere.
Today, The Kontra Quartet is recognized as one of the leading string quartet of the North, a status confirmed by awards Irom organizations such as the Danish Association of Musicians. With a very large number of first performances to its credit, the quartet has made itself indispensable in the new music environment of Denmark.
Trio des Lyres
The string trio Trio des Lyres, with violinist Anna Lindal, violist Nils-Erik Sparf and cellist Chrichan Larson, was formed in Paris in 1984. As one of the first ensembles to record a trio by Beethoven on period instruments. Trio des Lyres explores an uncommon way of relating well-known music to the contemporary, experimental genre - for example in Ikhoor by Iannis Xenakis.
Trio des Lyres has collaborated with many young composers, primarily in Scandinavia and France. A live recording, including trios by Beethoven, Xenakis and Couperin, has been released by Caprice Records.
In 1986, the soprano Christine Marstrand was awarded the highest acclaim for a Danish singer, the Aksel Schiotz Award. On Danish and international stages, she is a sought-after singer, particularly of lieder and oratorios, and interpreter of the vocal music of our century, which she has sometimes introduced. In her orchestral appearances, Marstrand has performed with conductors such as Sir David Willcocks, Leif Segerstam, Sixten Ehrling, lamas Veto and Michael Schonwandt.
Marstrand attended the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique in Paris, and the Royal Danish Academy of Music, debuting from the i9" 9 soloist class. She also holds a M.F.A. degree from the Opera School of the State University of New York, at Buffalo. She is a member of the opera chorus of the Danish Royal Theatre, in Copenhagen.