Entering 2017, my days are very much filled with studying repertoire and developing new concert programmes. There are festival appearances coming up on the historical instruments of Kongsberg and Røros. Also, there are nice projects in Germany. There are also recording projects. With organ, but also a Kitchen Orchestra project with Roma musicians from Slovakia.
For details on 2017, look here.
Looking back at the past year, I need to specially thank Stavanger Symphony Orchestra for no less than three important collaborations and premieres: Vindskulpturer, Sudden Landscapes and Beethoven-nummeret. Of which Sudden Landscapes by far is the most important for me (My largest work since the children opera The Tempest, of 2014. And a next orchestral big step after Grader av Hvitt, of 2007, also a Stavanger Symphony collaboration).
To be given the responsability to create a new festival on behalf of Stavanger konserthus was certainly a thrill. Orgelkraft filled all the venue three days in a row, April1-3, with activities directly or indirectly connected to the organ.
The Organ Night concept appeared both in Stavanger, with the Obstfelders Orgelnatt in November, and at Bodø Organ Festival in April, where we also saw the premiere of Orgelskipet for carillon, organ and orchestra. A very rewarding experience was the workshop and concert "Pilegrim i Orgelsko" with 10 organ pupils age 8-19 in Trondheim Cathedral, August. Cycles of new compositions from this project have recently been published.
For the interested - more details on last year here.
I had the great pleasure to work again with Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, this time for a commentary on Beethoven. The occasion was the Norwegian Culture Council's annual conference, which took place in Stavanger konserthus. I was asked to conceive something around the theme of The Critic, and contacted the author Øyvind Rimbereid. We had worked together before, on the Orgelsjøen project. I fed him with my ideas on deconstructing Beethoven, and my plan to include quotations from his contemporary critics (which varied between elevated praise and completely lack of understanding). I also wanted to create an involvment in the audience, asking them to use their mobile phones, both to disturb them a bit and to make them ideally participate in the large choir of opinions, the of critics, of likes and dislikes (even of the voices of the "millions" of the Ode to Joy). These ideas found some resonance and resulted in a poem in four parts. The text was read by Øyvind, recorded and played back. Instructions to the public were shown on the wall, as well as a number of quotations from the critics of Beethoven's time. All four movements of the Ninth Symphony are quoted in my piece, mostly by the orchestra, the organ part being a counter-voice. The title: "Beethoven-nummeret"
The piece was rehearsed in quite short time and recorded with not entirely optimal setup, but this video gives some impression anyway.
It was an important milestone when Sudden Landscapes finally was performed for the first time in full length, after preparations that stretched over four years. Sudden Landscapes was originally planned as an organ concerto, but evolved to something more like a large-scale symphonic painting where the organ and the orchestra continuously exchange sounds and blend in different ways. The piece is conceived as an uninterrupted series of 30 scenes, and lasts for about 35 minutes.
On September 15, 2016, as a part of the Norwegian Organ Festival, the piece was performed by Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, cond.James Feddeck, and Nils Henrik Asheim on the organ. Sudden Landscapes is commissioned by Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, with support from the Norwegian Cultural Fund.
The first Orgelkraft festival is over - thanks to all contributors & to our wonderful audience!
Looking back: One of my main events in 2015 was the premiere of «Eg søv, men hjartet vakar». Ane Dahl Torp and Ensemble Allegria did a wonderful performance at the Bergen International Festival on June 4.
Since 2013 I have been planning a remake of Franz Schubert’s dances for piano. The first result of this work in progress - the Schubert Moment - was performed on April 14 in Oslo.
A very special and rewarding challenge was the commemorative concert for Knut Nystedt on Sept 05 in Oslo. My piece «Knut sine stemmer» involved choir singers on+off stage, string orchestra, quotations from Nystedt’s music and even his own voice, sampled from a TV interview.
A successful collaboration resulted in the premiere of the revised version of Cello Stories, with Marianne Baudouin Lie in the leading part along with the Trondheim soloists, Nov.26.
Solo organ improvisation concerts took place in 2015 in Oslo Cathedral (All Ears Festival) and in Eglise du Saint-Esprit in Paris (to be heard on this Soundcloud page).
The Orgelsjøen (Sea of Organ) concert where Øyvind Rimbereid reads his poems along with the organ family (pipe organ, harmonium, indian harmonium, melodica and slide whistles) was performed in Bergen on Oct 29.
In 2015, Stavanger Concert hall presented 2 editions of Orgelnatt, a genre-crossing format which I now will export to Bodø Cathedral for their Organ Festival on April 23.
For the same April 2016 festival in Bodø, I am working on a new piece for organ, sinfonietta orchestra and carillon.
Also coming up in 2016 is a pedagogical project for young organ players. It involves composing a selection of pieces on different levels, as well as creating a concert with the young organists on all 3 organs of Trondheim Cathedral in August.
A major organ project in 2015 was the performance of Carl Nielsen’s Commotio, with new choreography, Stavanger concert hall Sept 20.
And, one more work in progress - The Bass Machine project, premiered at Orgelnatt in Stavanger concert hall on Oct 16, very promising but still with a potential for development.