Four pieces from a distance has been nominated by The Norwegian Society of Composers for the 2021 “Work of the year” award. 20 pieces by Norwegian composer have been nominated. Four pieces from a distance was commissioned by The Norwegian Organ Festival and NyNorsk Messingkvintett and premiered at by NyNorsk Messingkvintett and Anders Eidsten Dahl at The Norwegian Organ Festival in 2020. The piece has since then had several performances and will be recorded together with Oslo Chamber Choir in a new version that includes choir during spring 2022.

 

Kildeskrift is a piece composed in close collaboration with the innovative folk music (hardanger) fiddle player Erlend Apneseth. The piece is partly based on his musical ideas and sound world and partly based on old field recordings from Nordfjord in the western part of Norway. Kildeskrift will be premiered September 9th by Erlend Apneseth and The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra led by Terje Tønnesen at Gloppen Musikkfest.

Photo: Peter Purgar

The Norwegian National Youth Orchestra conducted by Johannes Gustavsson will give four performances of a new orchestral piece, Syklus (click link for more information).

In the spring of 2021, after more than a year of COVID restrictions, I felt the need to write music with a sense of flight, something light and not too heavy and serious. I simply ended up writing bicycle music. The inspiration comes from an actual bike ride I had with my family (wife and two children), the first real ride after long periods of lockdown, home schooling and quarantines. The speed of the bikes and the wind whistling around us gave a strong sensation of freedom. We also discovered that our four bicycle bells were tuned in a sore and beautiful minor chord. I have tried to transfer some of the feeling of speed and the slightly nostalgic sound of bicycle bells to the orchestra: The harmonies are based on the bicycle bells and the melody of a phrase that kept spinning in my head while we rode. Four of the musicians play the exact bicycle bells we used on our trip, and a percussionist also uses a bicycle as a percussion instrument.

TERJUNGENSEMBLE and folk singer Ingebjørn Logvik Reinholdt have recorded Tre sanger etter Ragnar Vigdal “Three songs after Ragnar Vigdal” alongside music by Agnes Ida Pettersen and Herman Vogt.

For the past fifteen years, as well as writing my own compositions, I have worked on reworking Norwegian folk music. Many of the reworkings have occupied the borderland between compositions and arrangements, and they have always reflected a desire to add something new to the original music at the same time as retaining some of its unique character. I was introduced to the three songs after Ragnar Vigdal (1913-1990) by the folk singer Unni Løvlid. Vigdal grew up near the inner part of Sognefjorden, in an atmosphere of Christian pietism. At house church meetings, he learned to sing hundreds of religious folk songs, richly embellished with ornaments and rich harmonies. In order to maintain the characteristic freedom of Vigdal’s musical tradition, I have written a piece where there is not much precise coordination between the soloist and the ensemble: Ingebjørg Lognvik Reinholdt is able to sing her own highly personal versions of the songs over three virtually independent movements for strings.

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The accordion player Frode Haltli has been productive during the Covid lockdown. He has recorded no more than three solo accordion albums. In his own words:

In May 2020 I started a recording project. The idea was to use this open calendar period to freshen up, rehearse and tape some not often heard solo pieces, most of them never recorded before. After a couple weeks of preparing, I got the key to our local church, set up a stereo pair of Neumann microphones, and started recording. On this third volume I have recorded three standout pieces which I have performed frequently at solo concerts the last decade or two.

a0180483131_10The third volume contains my accordion piece “Nephilim Song”, commissioned by and premiered at Wittener Tage for neue Kammermusik back in 2012. Nephilim Song is published by Edition Peters.

Selected Solo Works, Vol. 3 by Frode Haltli

UltimaTwo brand new pieces will be premiered during the Ultima Contemporary Music Festival 2020. On the opening concert, The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir conducted by Grete Pedersen will together with Tine Thing Helseth on trumpet premiere Trompeten, Nachts und Untergang, a piece based on three poems by Georg Trakl (1887-1914). TERJUNGENSEMBLE and the Norwegian folk singer Ingebjørg Lognvik Reinholdt will later perform Tre sanger etter Ragnar Vigdal, based on original material from the Norwegian folk singer Ragnar Vigdal (1913-1991).

Rødt lys

Photographer: norden.org

Ørjan Matre is nominated for the 2020 Nordic Council Music Prize for the orchestral work Lyric Pieces (2019).

The jury’s rationale:

The work plays creatively on Grieg’s simple melodic lines, offering surprising and fresh twists. The orchestral sounds are rich and brilliant, while fragments of the old pieces burst through and insist on their timelessness. Yet this is by no means an orchestration of Grieg. Matre regards Grieg as a peripheral memory – something abstract yet near and dear. Respectful and approached with love.

Lyriske stykker is pleasing to the ear and is a beautiful universe that, by way of detours through Hollywood, Disney, and the contemporary, makes both modern orchestral music and the classical legacy relevant to more listeners. This is elegant and stylish music in which Matre clearly shines through, with fleeting visits from Grieg.

Read about the nomination and the other nominees here:

The 2020 Nordic Council Music Prize

MoonIn November 2019, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Edward Gardner premiered Lyric Pieces, based on six of Edvard Grieg’s iconic piano pieces (see the performance here). On June 15 2020, their first concert after COVID-19 with an actual audience in the hall, they will perform it again, this time with Leif Ove Andsnes at the piano.  They have also commissioned an extra movement, Notturno, based on Grieg’s Notturno from his Op. 54.

Skjermbilde 2020-02-09 kl. 15.32.59

Lyric Pieces is nominated for the Norwegian Publisher Price 2020, in the category “Contemporary work of the year”. Ørjan Matre is also nominated as “Classical/Contemporary Composer of the year”. The price winners will be announced on February 26, 2020. Lyric Pieces is published by Edition Peters and was premiered in November 2019 by Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Edward Gardner.

Lyric Pieces: Score and info

Musikkforleggerprisen 2020

 

The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Øyvind Bjorå, will start 2020 with four performances of Lyric Pieces (Excerpts). For the performances in Bergen they will be joined by poet Erlend O. Nødtvedt reading texts from his book Bergens beskrivelse.

Lyric Pieces will be premiered by Bergen Philharmonic Orhcestra and Edward Gardner on November 14 in the Grieg Hall, Bergen. The piece is based on six of Edvard Grieg’s Lyric Pieces; AriettaSpring Dance, Solitary Traveller, ButterflyBell Ringing and Remembrances. It is not a conventional orchestration of the piano pieces, rather composed interpretations inspired by Grieg’s harmonic and rythmic ideas. Grieg himself is piano soloist in the last movement, in a recording from 1903.

Score and info about the piece: Lyric Pieces

A new version of the harp concerto “…yet from those flames no light…” is performed on November 3rd in Bergen Domkirke. The piece was premiered in 2015 by Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Edward Gardner and harp soloist Johannes Wik. The orchestra and the soloist are the same for this performance, but the piece now also includes choir (Bergen Domkor) and organ (Sigurd Melvær Øgaard).

The stage setup will be quite spectacular, with the orchestra distributed throughout the church, completely surrounding the audience.

Score and info about the piece here: “…yet from those flames no light…”

Oslo Chamber Choir and their conductor Håkon Daniel Nystedt have recorded a selection of Ørjan Matre’s Norwegian folk song arrangements. The recording is published by 2L.

The recording of Konsert for orkester, performed by Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and Peter Herresthal (violin), conducted by Peter Szilvay, picked up two Norwegian Grammys during the Norwegian Grammy Award (Spellemannsprisen), in the categories Best Contemporary Album, and TONOs Composer Price.

Info and Hild Borchgrevink’s text about the piece: Konsert for orkester

Vårt Land has reviewed Oslo Philharmonic Orchestras CD Konsert for Orkester, and they like what they hear.

With its fantastic sound world, the Concert for Orchestra can be seen as a celebration of the concert experience – or it can ask whether the concert experience can beat the depth and sound nuances I get at the listening experience from the first row in my own living room.