The base and identity of the orchestra are given in the coordinates for the town of Tromsø (69°42’ north | 19°00’ east). It is from this vantage point their perspective on five European composers is applied; five composers who in turn exist in mutual contrast and perspective.
The polar night
The first three works definitely belong in the darkness of the polar night. Webern’s Fünf Sätze is his first atonal work, originally written for string quartet. The Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten by Pärt is a mourning piece over the death of Britten in 1977. The work is one of the earliest examples of Pärt’s tintinnabulation-style where minimalism embraces the extreme, much like the perspectives in the polar landscapes. Kurtágs captivating Aus der Ferne III from 1991 closes the section.
The midnight sun storm
With Kurtág’s work the arctic night is definitively behind us, and offering the greatest contrast to the rest of the repertoire is the prize-winning Swedish composer Fredrik Högberg’s double bass concerto Hitting the First Base (2008). It does just what the double meaning of the title’s baseball metaphor promises: it hits our senses in a postmodern explosion of audible photons, a rhythmic, lively midnight sun storm of vibrant musicianship. The work was composed for and is dedicated to double bass player Dan Styffe who also assisted the composer in shaping the highly virtuosic, physically demanding and dynamic solo part.
Lutosławski considered Musique funèbre to be a turning point in his career even as early as the first performance in 1958, the beginning of a new period of self-found freedom to move around the musical twelve-note terrain, emancipated both from tonality and from more rigid versions of dodecaphony. Musique funèbre was “the first, and most certainly not the last word I will utter in what to me is a new language,” wrote Lutosławski.
Tromsø Chamber Orchestra
Tromsø Chamber Orchestra is the only full-time professional chamber orchestra in Norway. The orchestra has become well-known as a modern and versatile ensemble of high international standard. The orchestra gives weekly concerts in Tromsø, and the musicians also serve regularly as a part of the Arctic Philharmonic Orchestra, through the organisation NOSO AS.
The orchestra presents some of the most sought after soloists and artistic leaders from all over the world. Musically their range is from chamber ensembles and chamber orchestra to bigger symphonic productions. In addition to this, the orchestra has a high reputation in crossover repertory, through several co-productions with some of Norway’s most demanded pop- and jazz-artists. Kolbjørn Holthe has been the artistic leader since 2006, and under his leadership the orchestra has evolved into an ensemble that inspires and engages both the audience and the musicians passionately. Henning Kraggerud will follow Mr. Holthe as artistic leader from autumn 2012.