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«Requiem - Underveis» by Ragnhild Berstad - Premiere

10.03.2012 - 10.03.2019


The Norwegian Soloists' Choir and others
Grete Pedersen - conductor


 

Saturday 10 march, 19:30


Fagerborg Church


NOK 250,- / 150,-



 

Requiem for life's fragility performed on glass instruments

Death involves separation and painful loss. Together with the traditional elements of the Mass, I have therefore chosen to use texts that can bring comfort - that say something about death as a temporary conclusion - about the way forward - about new possibilities - about being underway.

Ragnhild Berstad

 

The Church Music Festival has invited the Norwegian composer Ragnhild Berstad to contemplate the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead, Requiem. This central sacred musical form has its roots back in the 1400s. Composers have since written some of history's most beautiful musical works with texts about mourning and eternal rest for the dead. For Berstad, the process of composing Requiem - Underveis became more poignant and personal when the composer lost her mother and then experienced the sudden passing of artist colleague Lars Kværne. After the tragedy that struck Norway on 22 July 2011, Berstad felt that her work on a Mass for the Dead took on yet another dimension. Requiem - Underveis is written for choir and soloists, strings, woodwinds and electronic instruments. In addition, Berstad uses glass instruments designed specifically for the piece by glass artist Vidar Koksvik. The glass instruments have a central role in the Mass for the Dead. They contribute a unique sound, while the quality of their material makes them extremely fragile. In 2008 Berstad wrote a piece exclusively for glass instruments, In Vitro, in collaboration with Lars Kværne. Requiem - Underveis, is a tribute to the late Kværne and includes audio recordings of his earlier glass instruments. Berstad draws inspiration from, among other sources, French sound ideals in her musical work. French inspirations are also present in the rest of the concert programme, in the form of composers with a connection to France. One of the twentieth century's most significant French composers, Olivier Messiaen, is presented with two a cappella works, the motet O Sacrum Convivium and the 12-voice Cinq Rechants. In contrast to Messiaen's modernist sounds we have the Franco-Flemish Renaissance composer Pierre de la Rue. His beautiful hymn O Salutaris Hostia was popularised by the version performed by Jan Garbarek and the Hilliard Ensemble. In addition, the Norwegian Soloist Choir conducted by Grete Pedersen performs Nuits, adieux by the Finnish contemporary composer Kaija Saariaho, who currently lives and predominantly works in Paris.

 



 

Ragnhild Berstad (b. 1956) studied musicology at the University of Oslo and composition with Lasse Thoresen and Olav Anton Thommessen at The Norwegian Academy of Music. She has made her mark with electro-acoustic compositions and is described as a poetic modernist. Berstad's sound universe is physical and expressive, often drawing sound colours from unconventional instrumentation. Her compositions move in a musical space between silence and sound, between foreground and background, and with a listening awareness of both the scored music and the surroundings. The award-winning composer has an extensive list of works with several choral and orchestral pieces, chamber music and solo works.

 




The Norwegian Soloists' Choir is one of Norway's premier vocal ensembles and in 2010 celebrated its 60th anniversary. The choir holds a unique position in Norwegian cultural life and can look back at over 200 premieres performed with professional singers who are all potential soloists. Composer and conductor Knut Nystedt directed the Soloists' Choir for 40 years until the baton was passed to Grete Pedersen in 1990. The Norwegian Soloists' Choir performs concerts at home and abroad, in concert halls and churches, ballrooms and even bus garages.

 



 

GRETE PEDERSEN studied conducting at the Norwe-
gian State Academy of Music and with Terje Kvam and Eric
Ericson. She is internationally renowned for her performances of baroque, classical and contemporary music. Extensive concert work both nationally and internationally, radio, TV, and acclaimed CD recordings have made her a sought-after conductor. She regurarly works as a guest conductor with choirs like the Netherlands Kammerkoor, Swedish Radio Choir and the Netherlands Radio Choir. She is now a Professor at the Norwegian State Academy of Music and regularly gives master classes. In 1984 Pedersen founded the Oslo Chamber Choir, and conducted it until 2004, when they received the Honorary Award of the Norwegian Choir Association. While there, she created a new performance practice based on Norwegian «kvede» tradition and folk music. Pedersen has been the artistic director of the Norwegian Soloists’ Choir since 1990.
In addition to numerous world premieres, she has increasingly focused on larger productions with choirs and orchestras, for example with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and the Baroque Soloists. She recieved the Norwegian Critic Union´s Price in 2010.
 

 



 

Vidar Koksvik received his education as a glass artist from Glasskolan in Orrefors, Sweden and The Surrey Institute of Art and Design. He has won several awards as an artist, including Norsk Forms pris, Statens arbeidsstipend for unge kunstnere and Scheiblers Legats talentpris i Kunsthåndverk. Koksvik's works have been purchased by the National Museum and the Norwegian State Department's art collection and he has also completed a number of commissions.
 
 
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