A fascinating double portrait of the young composer Ørjan Matre and the excellent clarinetist Rolf Borch. Matre and Borch explore the clarinet in a variety of settings: all alone, in small chamber settings and finally in a fully fledged concerto with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under Juanjo Mena’s baton.
Monologue and conversation
In Prologue we hear the clarinet on its own. The work is based on material from the solo part of the clarinet concerto, however placed in entirely different surroundings. Runs, trills around tonal centres and multiphonics makes one think of the mechanical repetition and delimited auditory space of electronic music. In Chant the clarinet converses with the trombone. At first tongue-in-cheek and restrained, but slowly developing into something more extrovert and dangerous, even though there is a sense of humour below the surface. A leaf falls in loneliness for clarinet, cello and electronics is inspired by two poems, one by e.e. cummings and a japanese haiku. The music is a series of small situations where the three voices and the tape track gradually are interwoven. All the parts play airy, translucent sounds that are allowed to overlap almost like sheer veils.
“A beautiful parasite”
The title of the work Inside Out perhaps reflects how the composer could be said to redefine the traditional role of the solo instrument in a concerto. Rather than a virtuosic performance in front of, above and outside of the orchestral texture, the clarinet picks up threads and fragments already present in the weave of orchestral instruments, amplifying and emphasizing them either through drawing lines or passing rapidly through harmonic landscapes. All of this requires a sensitive performer who must be an attentive chamber musician and at the same time play with clear articulation in a sound world that is often dynamically subdued. The composer has said that he thought of the clarinet as a parasite on the orchestra – albeit a beautiful one.
Ørjan Matre and Rolf Borch
Ørjan Matre was born in Bergen in 1979 and studied compostition at the Norwegian Academy of Music with Bjørn Kruse, Lasse Thoresen, Olav Anton Thommessen and Henrik Hellstenius. Over the last five-six years Matre have received several commissions from leading musicians, ensembles and orchestras. Rolf Borch 1975 is also born in Bergen, and studied at the Academy with Hans Christian Bræin. In addition to a broad classical repertoire, Borch has a strong affinity for new music, resulting in some 90 premieres of new works for clarinet. The list of composers he has worked with is long and includes such names as Lachenmann, Ferneyhough, Oehring, Huber, Saariaho and Spahllinger.