Arne Nordheim, 1931-2010, has gained wide recognition as Norway"s leading contemporary composer and as a major creative force in European modern music since his debut with the first String Quartet (1956) and the performance of the orchestral work Canzona in Amsterdam (1963). Nordheim"s varied output comprises almost all genres: orchestral symphonic works, a violin concerto, a cello concerto (Tenebrae), chamber music, vocal music - choral music and music for solo singers, incidental music for the stage, the large-scale oratorio Nidaros (1996), electroacoustic works, radio productions, and the famous score to the ballet Stormen (The Tempest). He has been awarded all the prizes and distinctions available to Norwegian composers, as well as the Nordic Council"s Music Prize (1972) and prestigious prizes in other countries. In 2006 he was appointed Honorary Doctor of the Norwegian Academy of Music.
In recognition of his outstanding artistic achievements the Norwegian government granted him lifetime residency at the "Grotten" state residence, where he lived with his wife Rannveig Getz, situated in the grounds of the royal palace in Oslo. In 1997 Nordheim was appointed Honorary Member of the ISCM (International Society of Contemporary Music).
Peter Herresthal has made the new music for violin his arena, with significant success. Nordheim adds a new dimension to the baroque partita form in Partita for Paul, written for a Paul Klee exhibition in 1985. Thommessens Please Accept my Ears allows the violin to blend with the sustained sound of the piano to create a natural dynamic balance as the two instruments accompany each other.
In 2011 Arne Nordheim would have been 80 years. Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra celebrate the leading composer of Scandinavia with a fantastic recording of his earliest and last orchestral works. The emotional and terrifying beauty of Arne Nordheim's orchestral music have never been more captivating than in these new recordings.
Arne Nordheim (1931-2010) himself stressed that he was seeking to 'recall forgotten experiences, to evoke forgotten images' in his music. Tenebrae (Darkness) (1982) for cello and orchestra was written for and premiered by Rostropovich. It receives its ultimate realization in this recording with fellow Norwegian Truls Mørk and the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. With its tension between the poetic and the catastrophic - the polarities in Nordheim's works - the concerto is a re-examination of the relationship between man and nature. Magma (1988) was commissioned by the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra for its 100th year anniversary. Of all the experiences that have etched themselves into the memory of mankind throughout human history, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and avalanches are among the most basic. Norwegian nature too can seem menacing at times. Shocking, unpredictable encounters with the abyss above which our existence is poised.
Einar Steen-Nøkleberg creates a meeting of masters outside the trodden path: Arne Nordheim probes into and behind the sound of the piano - meeting ideas and processes from the last sonata of Beethoven.
Arne Nordheim"s electronic pioneer works released for the first time
The exclusive release Listen · the Art of Arne Nordheim contains 7 CDs with music from all of Nordheim"s long carere. It sets off with the international breakthrough Epitaffio for orchestra and tape. On CD I there is also Canzona per orchestra from 1961, a virtual concerto for orchestra from 1961, which has never been released on CD before. Then follows the powerful cello trilogy Clamavi, Wirklicher Wald and Tenebrae. Through The Tempest, suite from the sucessful ballet Nordheim made with Glen Tetly, we move in on the centre of this collection; the works Aurora, Tres Lamentationes and Nedstigningen (The Descent). The last piece is a radiophonic composition which has never been released before.
The haunting Draumkvedet (The Dream Ballad) and the crystal clear Silver Key are found on the way towards the sizzeling eruptions of Magma. Nordheim"s ground breaking electronic works are represented by Solitaire and Pace. And then of course what has almost become a trade mark of Nordheim; the way he combines electronic and acoustic sounds, as for instance in Eco, which is CD premièred here.
And just when you think you"ve got Nordheim all ready and wrapped to go, you receive a thrust towards Solar Plexus, get entangled in a trombone who is talking to himself in The Return of The Snark, and there"s Spur; concerto for accordion and orchestra.
It"s all brought to a breathtaking close with Nachruf for Strings (1957) in a live recording from the Oslo Philharmonic Orhcestra concert on Nordheim"s 70th birthday 20 June 2001.
With this recording Truls Mørk immediately established himself as among the top performers of the world. The recording is done in Ris church June 1986, and is still held as one of the best recordings of a string instrument ever. A fantastic album with exemplary interpretations of the best modern repertoar for cello there is - performed by Truls Mørk.
Epitaffio for orchestra an magnetic tape (1963, revised 1977) is dedicated in memoriam to the brilliant Norwegian flautist Alf Andersen (1928-62). It is an unusually heartfelt and moving work and it is completeley based on sound and sound modulations between the extremes of descant and bass, or, as Nordheim puts it, "light and dark at the same time". Central to the orchestra are four percussionists, using mainly metal instruments; triangles, tam-tams, bells, cymbals, chimes, vibraphone, etc. Towards the end of the work the tape presents an electronically processed version of the poem Ed è subito sera (And suddenly it`s evening) by Salvatore Quasimodo, for voices. Nordheim says: "Three solitary words; solo, terra, sera (alone, earth, evening) from Quasimodos poem occupied my thoughts from time to time. Their function is that of sound and of emotional signals, which initiate more profound phases in the composition. These words stand out clearly from the sonic world of the tape, which gives the work both a new dimension of sound and an extended, almost cosmic perspective."
Doria for tenor and ochestra is an example of the moderation and rapprochement with tonal music which took place with Nordheim in the 70`s. The work is written for - and dedicated to - the tenor, Peter Pears. Nordheim makes the following comment on it: "As a particular admirer of the early poems of Ezra Pound´s production, I selected the poem Doria from the collection Ripostes, published in 1912. The poem contains images that can be said to be only partially developed. Ever-changing sceneries of great atmosphere roll by, at time possessing an almost geographical quality while at other times appearing more like distant notions or shadows. The tonal realisation is based on a small-sized orchestra, and the whole of the ensemble conveys a dark, bell-like timbre."
Technically the work is an extension of Nordheim`s orchestral style of the 60`s inspired by the "endless" technique seen in, for instance, Lux et tenebrae, a concert version of the Osaka music. To a great extent Greening consists of tapestries of melodic lines in the divisi strings (ut to 48 parts) with ostinato motifs of varying length.
Re-mastered in 24bit technology
"Momentum" presents the outstanding cellist Jakob Kullberg; a driving force within modern music today. The release also marks the 80th anniversary of a giant in contemporary music; his fellow countryman Per Nørgård.
In his music to The Dream Ballad composer Arne Nordheim draws on sources of text and music dating back to mediaeval times. Nordheim re-interprets the visionary dream of the ballad, fusing the traditional Dream Ballad with his own acoustic and electric musical idiom. The apocalyptic vision Olav Åsteson had in his long sleep is brought almost frighteningly near us by Arne Nordheim. This release also marks the 75th anniversary of a major creative force in European modern music.
Accordionist Frode Haltli is held in the highest regard world wide for his innovative work over the past 10 years, including several successful albums in the ECM catalogue. On his new release Frode Haltli presents the first recording ever of the complete works for accordion by his fellow countryman and musical explorer: Arne Nordheim. Through his music he redefined what the accordion can be, evoking both the organic as well as the near-electronic soundscape that this instrument is capable of.
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