The Royal Danish Orchestra, Tuesday, September the 6th
The Royal Danish Orchestra, Tuesday, September the 6.th - Anders Hultquist
Strange Attructors in Musical Composition and Analysis was the title of Anders Hultquists's thesis at The Music Institute in Gothenburg. At the Institute he studied the flute and composition with such prominent teachers as Bo Holten, Mikael Edlund and Lars-Johan Wcrle. In addition to his activities as composer and researcher, Hultquist has served as chair of the composition program at Gothenburg since 1989.
Rolf Wallin started his career as a composer while still performing in experimental jazz and rock groups, and taking his first tentative steps in performance art. Wallin has composed for a broad spectrum of instrumental combinations, from commissions for the Oslo Philharmonic and Trondheim Symphony orchestras to large -scaJe music theater events for the Molde International Jazz Festival and the 1990 World Music Days in Oslo. He has contributed to Norwegian musical life as a music critic and essayist in Dagbladet and Ballade, and as a teacher at the Norwegian State Academy of Music.
A native of Oslo, Wallin (b. 1957) studied composition at the Norwegian State Academy of Music, with Finn Mortensen and Olav Anton Thommessen. In the mid-1980s he spent a year at the University of California, San Diego, studying with Joji Yuasa, Roger Reynolds and Vinko Globokar.
In my development as a composer" he says, "my jazz and rock background complemented my classical training." Traces of those formative years mark his later works for some of the most important performance art and contemporary dance theater groups in Norway, such as Passage Nord, Dans Design and Scirocco. "Playing with music" in a number of senses, describes those aspects of Wallin's composition in which musical intuition and artistic interchange with other media predominate.
Yet one also hears a pronounced tendency toward abstraction and construction. Listening to his three orchestral pieces, which represent an axis in his first ten years as a composer, one notes a development from a strongly expressed subjectivity toward a more objectively-founded modernist position. Wallin's first major piece, Id, in 1982, shows a strong expressive urge, not unlike that of his teacher, Olav Anton Thommessen. The expressionism is undiminished in his orchestral piece, Chi (1991), but it reaches another level of control through a successful adaption and development of ideas and techniques from composers such as Xenakis, Berio and Stockhausen. In between, Wallin wrote the Timpani Concerto (1986-88), marking the composer's first step into computer-aided composition.
His year in San Diego powerfully influenced Wallin's development. Among other things, it strengthened his interest in new scientific trends and perspectives, giving him for the first time the opportunity to work with computers. After some years of experimenting, he found a way to write programs which fit his intentions and needs. From the start, his aim was to seek out the formal structure of a given idea, to raise a firm framework within which the composer's musical intuition may evolve rather freely. Yet one also finds the same formal ideas in his pre-computer works, above all in the piano/percussion quartet, Mandala. Viewed in retrospect, the introduction of the computer in his compositions seems a natural step in Wallin's technical and musical development, helping him strengthen the overall precepts of the creative process.
Formal construction, however, is only one of Wallin's reasons for utilizing the computer. To an equal degree, he regards it as a companion for his intuition, opening new and unexpected avenues for his musical ideas. He often cites a story about a Japanese Zen master, who several centuries ago used his hair to spray ink onto rice paper. Later, with a few brush strokes, the master transformed the blots into a wonderful landscape. This meeting between the whims of nature and the artist's will seems an artistic ideal for RolfWallin. In its pursuit, he has found an interesting tool in the so-called "chaos theory." In the program note for Stonewave for six percussionists, he explains:
"The last few years I have become increasingly involved in some peculiar mathematical formulas called fractals. These formulas, used in the fast growing field of Chaos theory, are relatively simple, but they generate fascinating and surprisingly 'organic' patterns when shown graphically on a computer screen, or played as music.
"In fact, the last third of Stonewave is one long linear sweep through a microscopic jungle of numbers arranging themselves in less and less predictable patterns, with a 'pocket' of extreme repetitiveness before exploding into the last chaotic bars." At the root of Chi, one finds the same mathematical formulas, framed in a remarkably well formed formal structure. The work may also well be an indicator of Wallin's further development, pursuing the transformation of science in an artistic direction, without oversimplification, in order to comment on and continue the modernist tradition.
But the listener will also pick up a wide variety of stylistic interchange, of modernist and not-so-modernist expressions. It might be said that a number of his works are not modernist at all in the accepted sense. For instance, the lighthearted consonance of his oboe quartet, ning (also a "fractal" piece, and paradoxically enough his most "scientific" and predetermi-native work so far), is a far cry from the dissonant angularity of the modernism of the 50s and 60s.
But here Wallin challenges the view of modernism as a cementation of a style, or as a straight line towards perpetually increasing complexity. His definition of the term is, rather, an artistic stance of exploration and motion into unknown land, which in the universe of music might lead to regions that at first glance seem disturbingly well-known, but which, after further investigation, can fertilize and bring new growth to a tradition whose strength and weakness is its own consistency.
Kalevi Aho gained public notice in the early 1970s through performances of his first symphony and a piece for string quartet. He remained in the genre of symphony and large-scale chamber music throughout that decade. Aho (b. 1949) refers to an "abstract plot" in his longer works, which feature slow movements savored with dashes of quick color. His flair for building tension and the ambiguity of using mixed forms of expression have been compared to the chaos of major battles.
In the decade that followed, Aho turned to concertos, pieces for instrumental solos and chamber music. These newer efforts continued to demonstrate Aho's feeling for chaos mounting toward an emotional climax.
Kalevi Aho studied composition at the Sibelius Academy and later at the Staatliche Hochschule fur Musik und Darstcllendc Kunst in Berlin. He lectures in music at the University of Helsinki.
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra Why should anyone wish to compose piano concertos any longer, when characters like Brahms, Tschaikovsky and Rachmaninoff have already long since created unsurpassable masterpieces in the genre? Well, for a start, because there are inspiring musicians around who feel that new piano concertos should be coming along, so they wouldn't always have to play these same old ones.
The generator for my concerto, and indeed for my entire output of piano works to date, is the pianist Liisa Pohjola. Liisa played the piano part of my tenor song-cycle, Kolme Icrnlua elamastci (Three Songs About Life, i9~7), liked the piano texture, and asked me to write a piano sonata. I got around to it three years later, and after the first performance, Liisa promptly suggested that next I'd better get to work on a piano concerto.
A number of large works then came along, until in 19851 turned to the concerto, full of hope and expectation. The great expectations soon evaporated, however, since I could not grasp the concerto form in such a way that the composition would start rolling under its own momentum, nor could I find a satisfactory approach to the relationship between orchestra and solo instrument.
I let the piano concerto go, and more big works came and went, but the thought of the piano concerto kept nagging me and rumbling about in the back of my mind. After completing my opera, Hydnteiselamad (Insect Life, 1985-87), I finally found a starting point for the work that was more to my liking. That was in the autumn of 1987. This time I deliberately left off work on the piece, did an orchestration job on Act I of Uuno Klami's unfinished ballet, Pyoitcita (Whirls, 1988), and then composed my 7th Symphony, the "Insect Symphony," based on the earlier opera. Only after the 7th was completed and performed was it time to face the concerto in earnest once more.
The bulk of the work emerged during the summer and autumn of 1989. Writing it entailed man}' crises and hold-ups, but also moments of great excitement and inspiration, when it seemed as if something truly exceptional was going on - in other words, the process all in all was pretty typical of my way of writing. The four-movement work was completed in December of last year.
In the course of the whole long procedure of composing the work, the concerto moved away from its initial stimuli and starting-points; it became what it is without my having any longer a clear image of a specific soloist or players. All the same, I was delighted that the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra gave the work its first performance, with my friend Liisa Pohjola at the piano.
Thomas Dausgaard (b. 1963) began his music studies early, and conducted his first concert at the age of 16. On graduation from the Royal Academy of Music in Copenhagen, he continued the study of conducting under Norman Del Mar at the Royal College of Music in London. He took master classes with Franco Ferrara, Leonard Bernstein and Hiroyuki Iwaki, and in 1991 he won a conducting fellowship at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute.
Since his debut with the Tivoli Symphony Orchestra in Copenhagen, he has toured widely in Europe, playing regularly in Sweden, where lie recently replaced Carlo Maria Guilini to conduct the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in two broadcast performances of Beethoven's Miss a Solcnmis.
In the 1993-94 season, Dausgaard was appointed assistant conductor to Seiji Ozawa of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and during forthcoming seasons he will conduct Britain's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; the City of London Sinfonia; the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra; the Odense Symphony Orchestra; The Danish National Opera in Aarhus; the Swedish Symphony and Chorus, and the Hcisingborg Symphony and Chorus.
Thomas Dausgaard has won awards in several international conducting competitions. Last year he won the Danish Music Critics' Prize.
The Norwegian violinist Jon Gjesme has appeared as guest soloist with the leading symphony orchestras of Norway and with the Norwegian Chamber Choir and the Minnesota Orchestra.
In the United States, Gjesme also won both the Schubert Club Competition and the Minnesota Young Artists Competition. He was named as his country's representative to the 1991 Soloist Biennial in Tampere, Finland.
Born and raised in Honefoss, Gjesme studied in Oslo, Hannover and Minneapolis. He is currently completing his studies at the Royal Danish Conservator}' in Copenhagen, where his principal teacher is Milan Vitek.
Lars Holm Johansen
Lars Holm Johansen (b. 1939) attended Victoria University' in New Zealand before beginning his music studies under Erling Blondal Bengtsson at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. He also had periods of stud}' in the Netherlands and Hungary. Following his graduation in 196" , Johansen that same year was made solo cellist in the Hcisingborg Symphony Orchestra. In 1969 he became solo cellist in the Royal Danish Orchestra. Johansen is a member and co-founder of Collegium Musicum and a member of the Copenhagen Chamber Trio. He has attended a master class under Gregor Piatigorsky.
Besides Scandinavia, Johansen has performed in Germany, France, England, the Netherlands, Israel, New Zealand, the United States, China and Japan.
The Danish percussionist Søren Monrad (b. 1959) started his education under Niels Borchkardt Andersen at the Holstebro School of Music, and continued in Copenhagen with Hans Fulling. In 1981 he was appointed a percussionist with the Royal Danish Orchestra, and in 1983 promoted to timpanist.
Monrad was awarded the Bruusgaard Scholarship. He teaches percussion at the Academy of Music in Odense.
The Swedish pianist Roland Pontinen studied with Professor Hallhagen and at the Music Academy in Stockholm. Though only in his early thirties, Pontinen (b. 1963) has performed with all the major orchestras in Scandinavia, and toured extensively in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. He-has given concerts at man}' prestigious festivals.
A virtouso whose concerto repertoire includes unusual and demanding works like the Barber, Ligeti and Skriabin concern, Roland Pontinen also devotes considerable attention to the refined recital repertoire and chamber music constellations.