In March the ensemble Norbotten NEO, conducted by Christian Karlsen will perform the complete cycle ‘Lantern Lectures’ by Klas Torstensson at several locations in Sweden. The four volumes have over the past fifteen years been performed in a number of countries by ensembles such as ASKO|Schönberg, Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Modern, Oslo Sinfonietta, KammarensembleN, Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and Sinfonietta Riga, conducted by conductors such as Etiënne Siebens, Koen Kessels, Lorraine Vaillancourt, Christian Eggen, Hans Leenders and Normunds Sne. Now at Culture house Luleå, Sweden…
After having completed his opera The Expedition (1994-1999), Klas Torstensson felt a need to write music which was ‘lighter’ and of a smaller format. At the same time, he realised that he himself and his creative work would never be the same again after he had written an opera about Death and Love!
While working on the opera, he received commissions from several ensembles: Asko Ensemble (Amsterdam), Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne (Montréal), KammarensembleN (Stockholm) and Klangforum Wien. He decided to write a cycle of works for all these ensembles – a cycle where every single work could be performed independently, and where each piece, when the cycle was completed, would function as a ‘movement’ in a larger whole.
The different ‘volumes’ are introduced by a ‘brass link’ for trumpet, horn and trombone. These ‘brass links’ can also be performed independently as Four Brass Links.
Volume I was commissioned by Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne and has a bass drum as its main character, a bass drum which is played with brushes. The title Solid Rocks refers to the layers or stratas that can be found in the music: veins being forced into the flow of the music. Volume I was premiered in May 2001 in Montréal by Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne.
In Volume II the division in layers is maybe even more striking. Moments of freeze are projected against an active, massive and percussive row of events. Raw surfaces opposed to playful gestures. This volume was commissioned by Südwestrundfunk Stuttgart, and it was premiered in February 2003 by Klangforum Wien.
As most of us know, the northern lights, the Aurora Borealis, do not produce any sound, despite myths telling the opposite. Several years ago Klas Torstensson received a recording of distorted radio waves, the distortion caused by the northern lights. These recordings were treated until he obtained something which he experienced as beautiful, multilayered electronic sound: the sound of the northern lights, if the northern lights had produced any sound!
In his opera The Expedition this sound plays an important role. In some of the parts of Aurora Borealis, he has transcribed and orchestrated one of the incoming layers for ensemble.
Volume III was commissioned by the Swedish Concert Institute and is dedicated to Göran Bergendal. Its premiere took place in Stockholm in February 2002.
Giants’ Cauldron – or potholes – are cylindrical holes in the bedrock of a glacier, created by rotating stones in the water running underneath the glacier. In this work, we hear musical loops rotating in a similar way.
Volume IV was premiered in the Festival Éclat in Stuttgart in February 2003 by Klangforum Wien.
March 7 – Norrlandsoperan (Konsertsalen), Umeå, 19:00
March 10 – Studio Acusticum, Piteå, 16:00
March 11 – Kulturens Hus, Luleå
March 13 – Tonhallen, Sundsvall, 19:00
March 17- Stockholms Konserthus (Grünewaldsalen), 16:00, Stockholm