On March 17th The Norwegian Army Band Bergen (NABB) will premiere Glenn Erik Haugland’s “Law vs. Order” at the Borealis festival, which takes place in their musically vibrant home-town of Bergen. For the premiere the band is joined by the world-renowned Rascher saxophone quartet. One of the vantage points of Haugland’s work is the execution of Saddam Hussein, and the background is the religious mind-set by which both the Bible and the Koran encourages placing God’s will above that of the state. The political aspect is also prominent in James Clapperton’s “Songs and Dances of Death”, while Torstein Aagard-Nilsen explores the fault line between contemporary music and jazz. Borealis is a merger of two previous events: the Autunnale festival and the Music Factory festival. Now in its fourth year, it enjoys the status of an exiting hot-spot for contemporary music.
By Arvid Skancke Knutsen / Translated by Christian Lysvåg
-We often regard law and order as two aspects of the same thing, relates Glenn Erik Haugland explaining the background for his new work “Law vs. Order”.
-I have previously discussed these matters and the nature of revenge with Olaf Anton Thommessen in connection with my opera “Rebecca”, the central motif of which is exactly revenge.
-To seek revenge is to elevate oneself above the law and question its intention of justice by trial. Regarding Saddam Hussein’s recent execution the aspect of revenge shed a venomous glare over the proceedings. With the dictator’s death the Shiites were able to restore the balance in accordance with the principle of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Order was reinstated.
Haugland goes on:
-To reinstate order is a natural emotional reaction when something of vital importance to people is disrespected. Hence it is not coincidental that the lust for revenge is greatest within family, clan, sect or religion. Both the Bible and the Koran encourages people to place the will of God above that of the state. Religious order thus has primacy over the democratically deliberated and rational justice of the law.
“Law vs. Order” is being performed by the world famous Rascher quartet in collaboration with the Norwegian army band Bergen (NABB); one of the finest wind ensembles in the country.
On the structure of the piece Haugland explains:
-One may think of the saxophones as a family or a sect. But it is more interesting to compose by regarding contradictions as features of a collective irrationality, or a purely emotional kind of action, over against an unwavering defence of the law. This version of “Law vs. Order” is a concise sketch in many parts, he concludes.
The Norwegian Army band Bergen has ascended to a level of excellence that makes them an ensemble of European format. This was exemplified at last year’s Borealis festival when they performed a work by the 2006 festival composer Georg Friedrich Haas. And it will most likely be further underlined this year when they perform works commissioned by the ensemble. These are works by James Clapperton and Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen. Clapperton’s “Songs and Dances of Death” is also a politically inspired piece, while Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen’s “The playground Project” moves in an opposite direction, as perhaps revealed by its title.
-Why is the drum kit so rarely used in contemporary music when it is essential in modern jazz? asks Aagaard-Nilsen.
-Is this a matter of genre-consciousness; that certain archetypes of one genre are not transferable to other ones?
These questions made the composer write a piece that explores whether his music becomes a kind of jazz when a drum kit features prominently. The work was commissioned by the Norwegian Army band Bergen in 2004, but it is also a salute to the legendary jazz group Weather Report.
-I wanted to explore the possibility of letting the drum kit merge with the ideas of timbre and harmony which are mostly associated with modern classical music, says Aagaard-Nilsen.
-NABB is an ensemble that is competent across many genres and it is intriguing to make use of the fact that their command of contemporary music is as great as that of rhythmic big-band music.
The performance Military band with saxophone is produced by NABB in cooperation with the Borealis festival. It will be conducted by Trond Korsgård.
NABB and the Rascher Quartet : Military Band with saxophones
Time and Place: Logen Theatre, 19.00.