Writing music for Nordic Voices is to push the boundaries of what you believe is possible. Kverndokk has written an entire album for Norway’s leading vocal ensemble.
Mass for six solo voices + two pieces with orchestra
The starting point for the mass was a ‘Missa Brevis’ commissioned by Nordic Voices to Fartein Valen Days in 2002. Kverndokk developed the melodic themes based on Fartein Valens 2nd sonata, while the lyrics are the traditional Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus and Agnus Dei. “It is not only Fartein Valen’s music that has inspired me. The sound of the words made me examine the sound of the vowels, which all have different overtones” says Kverndokk. The two pieces with orchestra are ‘Fuge der Zeit’, written to Gloger Festival in Kongsberg, and ‘The Seven Last Words of Christ’ – a further development of the music to his opera ‘Påske’ (Easter), based on Strindberg’s drama, which premiered in the spring of 2014.
The name Gisle Kverndokk (1967) is often tied to opera and musicals. ‘Around the World in 80 Days’, commissioned for the opening of the new opera house in Oslo, is just one of many music dramatic works from his hand in recent years. A number of his musicals and operas have been performed on stages in Norway, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the USA. In addition he writes music for radio productions, theatre and film, as well as chamber and orchestral music.
Nordic Voices (formed in 1996) consists of Tone Braaten, Ingrid Hanken, Ebba Rydh, Per Kristian Amundrød, Frank Havrøy and Trond Reinholdtsen. All of the members are graduates of either the Norwegian Academy of Music or the Opera Academy in Oslo. The ensemble’s well-conceived and creative concert programming – often involving a subtle element of humor – had led them to become a much sought-after group on the international scene.