New orchestral work by Klas Torstensson

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City Imprints, Torstensson’s new composition for large symphony orchestra, was commissioned by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (GSO) to celebrate the 400-year anniversary of the city of Gothenburg, Sweden, in 2021…    

City Imprints is Torstensson’s first orchestral work following the much performed triptych A cycle of the North (2007-2012) Fastlandet, Polarhavet, Himmelen. This cycle was co-commissioned by a number of European orchestras for performances in venues such as Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Konserthuset Stockholm, Stavanger Konserthus (Norway), and Berwaldhallen Stockholm.

City Imprints

After having been destroyed several times in the previous centuries, the city of Gothenburg was founded and rebuilt as a heavily fortified, primarily Dutch, trading colony, by royal charter in 1621.

In the centuries to follow, Gothenburg developed into Sweden’s main harbour for trade towards the west. Countless ships with emigrants sailed off to North America, and so did Pole expeditions heading for the North. Torstensson’s opera The Expedition (1994-1999) is about one of these expeditions – the unfortunate Andrée balloon expedition of 1897.

In City Imprints, we can hear not only traces of the farewells by the beloved ones, standing on the quay in the Gothenburg harbour, but also of the sounds originating from the shipbuilding industry (riveting machines!) and from the stonemasonry, both so typical for this city and its factories. Even the street network – the planning of the streets and canals of Gothenburg closely resembled that of Jakarta, which was built by the Dutch around the same time – has been given a modest place in the composition.

Before the reconstruction of the city in the beginning of the 17th century, it threatened to sink into the mud. In City Imprints, this sinking can be heard at the end of the work. Happily enough, in art, the chronology does not have to be realistic.

City Imprints as a soundscape: a personal search for both the public and the hidden memories of a city… Exciting and full of drama, but also of stillness and beauty.

 (Due to the Corona-pandemic the festivities have been postponed until a later date.)