Thommesen Orchestral Works
A Glass Bead Game (1979-1983)
”A Glass Bead Game” is a series of six compositions that play upon the traditional concertgoing experience. The entire composition is conceived as a ”concert about a concert”. This CD includes the entire first part of the cycle, that is to say, up to the intermission.
Organic music. A great wash of sound. A swarming sound-mosaic. Sounds forming knots and banners. Musical sound-painting. Sound-surfaces which collide and overlap. An element here, an element there. Tonal sounds. Fragments of Handel´s ”Water Music”. It all melts together.
Introduction and Macrofantasy on Grieg´s Concerto in A-minor for Piano and Large Symphony Orchestra (1980)
The fragments fuse together. We hear reference structures: a pitch reference (a chord) and a time reference (a pulse). Careful listeners like references – and seem to need them.
Beyond Neon – Post commercial Sound-sculptures for Horns and Ochestra (1981)
”Beyond Neon” should be listened to as an orchestral scherzo with a taste of horns. It struck me that Mahler has featured certain instruments in his scherzo movements, for example the horn in the Fifth Symphony. ”Beyond Neon” was conceived as a piece in which the horns were to act as a brilliant ”golden finger” that transects the orchestral palette. The soloist is placed on a ramp at the rear of the orchestra, while two hornists sit on the outer flanks of the sound picture.
From Above – A Concerto for Synthesizer and Ochestra (1986)
Utilizes the modern synthesizer as a solo instrument. The composition is a reworking and expansion of the chamber concerto ”Léclat Approchant” from 1985. As a new instrument, the synthesizer has established itself as the easiest means of manipulating electronic sounds, and so far it represents the culmination of the numerous atttempts at ”live electronic” that date from the sixties. The synthesizer offers an impressive array of electronic possibilities and enables the composer to integrate these new sounds with a purely instrumental ensemble.
The title ”From Above” refers to the development of the soundscape of the concerto. From the highest of soundspheres, the synthesizer is pulled inexorably downward towards the sonic abyss. The concerto consists of two movements separated by a solo cadenza. The synthesizer registrations have been worked out in collaboration with the soloist Iver Kleive, who premiered the work in 1988 with the Stavanger Symphony Ochestra, conducted by Gerard Oskamp.