la Biennale di Venezia
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Music


Oslo Sinfonietta

Saturday 26 September, 8 p.m.
Teatro alle Tese – Arsenale
Guarnieri / Schaathun / Wallin / Eggen
 
- Adriano Guarnieri The spirit of the wind (Blues in memoriam) for eleven instruments (2009, 13’), world premiere (commissioned by La Biennale di Venezia)
- Asbjorn Schaathun Requies (2006, 14') Italian premiere
- Rolf Wallin Boyl for ensemble (1995, 15’-17’) Italian premiere
- Christian Eggen Eine Bitte (1996-98, 20’)
 
conductor Christian Eggen
Oslo Sinfonietta
 
The early 1980s in Norway saw a new generation of composers shaking the music scene. Asbjorn Schaathun, Cecilie, Ase Hedstrøm, Christian Eggen and Rolf Wallin were some of the protagonists of this wave of renewal, and they were determined to have their works performed, aiming at a programmatic collaboration between composers and musicians to infuse new life into the musical world. They composed new music, but also set up musical groups, promoting concerts and festivals, writing in periodicals or creating new ones, such as “Ballade” magazine, giving a boost to musical life and making of Norway, together with the other Scandinavian countries, one of the most fertile areas for contemporary music.
 
Born in an almost spontaneous manner in the wake of the idealism and passion of contemporary music circles that revolved around the Norwegian State musical academy in the 1980s, the Oslo Sinfonietta was established in 1993 as a permanent association of composers and musicians – including the original founders, Asbjorn Schaathun and Christian Eggen – and soon established a permanent home for itself.
With a flexible number of performers and open to various instrumental combinations and choices of repertoire, the Oslo Sinfonietta has established itself in the current landscape as an ensemble dedicated to excellence. Active in promoting contemporary music, with particular regard to young Norwegian composers, the Oslo Sinfonietta is one of the founders of Ultima, the festival dedicated to contemporary art in Oslo.
 
The concert proposed presents the leading exponents of this generation of composers - Asbjorn Schaathun, Rolf Wallin, both with two new pieces for Italy, and Christian Eggen – along with one of the most popular Italian composers, Adriano Guarnieri, a composer of bristling and restless music. The evening opens with an absolute novelty for the 53rd Festival, Lo spirito del vento,, commissioned by the Biennale di Venezia.
 
For The spirit of the wind, Adriano Guarnieri (1947) was inspired by an anonymous African contemporary poem, to which he felt the need to add a symbolic subtitle, “Blues in memoriam”. “I composed it in a rush, in just a month and a half, motivated by a desperate issue of our day: the violence on victims of immigration, narrated by the tragic events we read of daily. For this reason, I sought a strong musicality, piercing, in which it would be possible to recognise rhythm and tribalism – not in a realistic manner, of course – and the sounds of our, of my musical culture” (A. Guarnieri).
 
Commissioned by the Ensemble Intercontemporain, Boyl, the medieval English form of “boil”, refers to the alchemical tradition that turns the originally chaotic “confused mass” into gold, after long processes of boiling and coagulation. In the music by Rolf Wallin (1957), the “confused mass” is given by “a quantity of material that comes from the mathematical function fractal called fractal. The function is relatively simple, but it creates fascinating and surprising ‘organic’ motifs when it is repeated many times. The main point of Boyl is the interaction between the principle of liquid mercury, cold and mobile, and the solid, burning, and dominant principle of sulphur. In the piece, the mercury is alone on stage for a long time before the sulphur intervenes. During the piece, the two principles exchange their qualities and, ultimately, come together” (R. Wallin).
 
The evening concludes with Eine Bitte, composed by Christian Eggen in 1996. It is a piece born of the inspiration from Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, with which it shares the dramatic story of two people, a man and a woman who seek each other without success.