Central Norwegian composers Glenn Erik Haugland and Lasse Thoresen are nominated to the Nordic Council’s prestigious Music Prize.
Says a proud Haugland on his Nordic Council’s Music Prize 2004 nomination:”I’m thrilled for this nomination and I hope that it leads to more opportunities to write musical drama. There’s no doubt that a nomination such as this one will act as a door opener.” Haugland also voices a hope for new Norwegian opera in the wake of the Music Prize nominations: “It’s been many years since a Norwegian opera was nominated to this prize. Keeping in mind the new Bjørvika opera (in Oslo) that is to be completed in a few years, I now hope that more people will see the importance of supporting Norwegian musical drama.”
Glenn Erik Hauland receives his nomination for his compositional contribution to the opera “Hulda and Garborg” while another central Norwegian composer Lasse Thoresen is nominated for his important work “Løp, lokk og linjar”.
Says the Music Prize 2004 on the selection of composers and works: “The works nominated for this year’s prize include vocal and/or dramatic works. We can note no fewer than five operas or chamber operas, several song cycles and several combinations of instruments with the human voice, and a single purely vocal work.
A notable feature is the breadth of artistic expression. Among the nominees one finds difficult works in a modernist idiom and striking colourings with Late Romantic and Neoclassical instrumentation, as well as fusions of different styles.
The will and the ability to produce strong artistic statements that communicate with the listener are great. Nordic musical culture is highly dynamic, is growing and is on its way towards something new at present.”
Other nominees include Sweden’s Thomas Jennefeldt and Hans Gefors, Iceland’s Þórður Magnússon and Haukur Tómasson, Denmark’s Anders Nordentoft and Svend Nielsen, Finland’s Tapio Tuomela and Lotta Wennäkoski, The Faroe Islands’ Pauli í Sandagerði, Åland’s Lars Karlsson and Greenland’s Chilly Friday Iggu group.
In Løp, lokk og linjar, commissioned by the BIT 20 Ensemble, Thoresen takes his point of departure in folk music and folk culture. As early as his Carmel Eulogies (1994) he explored the tensions between the tempered scale of art music and the distinctive tonalities of Norwegian folk music.
In the nominated five-movement work one finds these elements again, but now also with the herder’s calls and stylized nature sounds (in the third movement) and the use of real traditional singing (in the fifth movement).
As in a number of earlier pieces, Thoresen works in this composition with a texture that is in some places close, in others fragmented, crackling, sometimes almost staccato. In all cases, each element is treated with the greatest care.
All the musical parameters are subject to strict control, where every shade of expression is precisely indicated; sometimes with notational symbols that Thoresen has developed himself.
In 1987, Lasse Thoresen, who has been nominated several times for the Nordic Council’s Music Prize, was awarded the Lindeman Prize for his work as a composer and in 1993 he won the prize for “Work of the Year” with AbUno.
Glenn Erik Haugland’s “Hulda and Garborg”, has been a success with both audiences and critics. The opera “Hulda and Garborg” is based on the lives and careers of the Norwegian author Arne Garborg and his wife, and was written as a commission from the Tynset Municipality in Norway, to mark the 150th anniversary of Garborg’s birth.
The opera utilises a chamber music ensemble: violin, viola, cello and double-bass as well as percussion accompany a six-voice choir and the three solo singers who play Hulda and Arne Garborg and their good friend Ivar Mortensson Egnund.
“Hulda and Garborg” depicts the story about the three main characters’ interrelations and about personal crises, of which Arne Garborg in particular experienced quite a few. The music is expressive, and in many places unfolds in a highly empathetic harmony with the linguistic tone used and the psychological content. Haugland makes full use of the chamber ensemble and colours the music with great imagination and variation in expression.
Hulda and Garborg, which has been an important breakthrough for Haugland, has later been performed at Det Norske Teater in Oslo.
During his time as Chairman of the Norwegian Composers’ Society Haugland has made the society highly visible, and has done much to bring contemporary music to children.