Orchestral Works by Thommessen and Persen
Olav Anton Thommessen
For large orchestra carries the subtitle Sun Piece. It is inspired by Edvard Munch´s painting The Sun in Oslo´s University Assembly Hall. Upside-Down is conceived as a three movement symphony where the parts merge into, and separate from each other. Each new part is marked by an attack in the percussion.
Stabat Mater Speciosa
The text is conceived as a conscious counterwork to Stabat Mater Dolorosa. The work treats the vowels of the old Christian hymn as sound units, whereas the consonants are given a percussive function. The work is built on a characteristic type of scale which is gradually transformed into a chord. The sound that results opens and closes like a fan.
Barbaresk was originally titled Stabsarabesk (Military Band Arabesque) and was composed in 1974 after a stay in Cairo, where Thommessen had heard three Egyptian musicians perform a melody which they repeated several times. The composer says that ”the music never changed, and I was hypnotized by the repetitions. Simultaneously I began to work on the material in my mind. The result later turned out to be the work Stabsarabesk.”
The version recorded here, Barbaresk is an orchestration for brass band from the original work, made by one of Thommessen´s students, Arnt Bukkevold, which he presented as an examination piece at the State Academy of Music.
Orkesterverk II was commissioned by Norwegian TV for the ballet The Bum. The language is modern, with passages of jazz music. The composer characterizes the work as ”naked and brutal”. He did not intend to write ”aesthetically beautiful music”.
CSV was written for a competition in connection with the inauguration of the Oslo Concert Hall. The initials CSV mean ”Dare to show that you are a Lapp”, and the work directed attention towards one of the most controversial political issues in Norway after the second World War: The relationship between the larger society and the aboriginal population in Finnmark. The language is almost brutal, with forceful dynamic explosions, culminating with two pistol shots (blanks) in the very last bars of the work.
The work 7´56´´ is a result of the awakening interest in the electric and electronic media. The composer started work in this area with the rock musician Jøran Rudi in 1982, when they set up their own studio and began experimenting. Two similar works, 8´27´and 8´05´´, also originated at the same. Alle three pieces are based partly on strictly formal material, partly on improvisation.