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.
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra has released the video from the performance of the special version of Lyric Pieces they performed in June. Leif Ove Andsnes joined the orchestra in a solo part especially composed for this concert. In addition he also played some of Grieg’s original pieces in between my own movements.
Lyric Pieces is nominated for the 2020 Nordic Council Music Prize.
Ørjan Matre: Lyric Pieces from Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra on Vimeo.
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.
The 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.
Two 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 premiereTrompeten, 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).
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:
In 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.
The Edvard Grieg International Piano Competition 2020 has commissioned a short piano solo work to be included in the competition. Notturno, a 4 minute piece which vaguely points towards Edvard Grieg’s Lyric Piece with the same name, can until April 20 be dowloaded on the following page: Edvard Grieg Competition – Repertoire.
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.
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.