Brett Dean in Scandinavia: Fire Music premiere in Stockholm(August 2011)
Australian Brett Dean has been chosen as featured composer at two major Scandinavian festivals over the coming months: the Trondheim Chamber Music Festival (19-25 September) and the Tonsättarfestival at the Stockholm Concert Hall (10-16 November).
Brett Dean has for many years enjoyed performing as a chamber musician and was immediately attracted to the idea of collaborating with leading artists at the Trondheim Chamber Music Festival. From solo viola performances in Intimate Decisions and his Viola Concerto, through chamber music with the Quatuor Tercea and other leading international string players, to conducting works with the Trondheim Sinfonietta, multiple aspects of Dean's musicianship are revealed. Scandianavian premieres include the Viola Concerto with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra conducted by André de Ridder, Epitaphs for string quintet and Polysomnography for piano and wind quintet, plus the Norwegian premiere of Pastoral Symphony.
Stockholm plays host to the largest celebration of Brett Dean's music to date with the Tonsättarfestival presented in November at the Stockholm Concert Hall by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra. The opening concert on 10 November features the world premiere of his new orchestral work, Fire Music, commissioned by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic together with Australian Ballet and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The opening programme conducted by Sakari Oramo also includes the Swedish premieres of the Viola Concerto with Dean as soloist, Amphitheatre and Komarov's Fall.
On 11 November Dean joins violinist Jack Liebeck and musicians from the orchestra in Recollections and Voices of Angels. A variation on the opening concert follows on 12 November with the Viola Concerto replaced by Dean's Grawemeyer Award-winning violin concerto, The Lost Art of Letter Writing, with Jack Liebeck as soloist. A chamber programme on 13 November includes the Swedish premiere of Epitaphs with Dean joining the Doric Quartet. The final concert on 16 November includes a new version of his Gesualdo-inspired work Carlo and Pastoral Symphony with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra conducted by Thomas Dausgaard.
Brett Dean describes how Fire Music “follows on from other works of mine, such as Pastoral Symphony and Water Music, for which the inspiration has come from aspects of the natural world. In this instance, the initial idea came through experiencing the unprecedented weather conditions in and around Melbourne in early 2009, which culminated in a devastating series of fires in parts of Victoria, Australia, on February 7th, known as the "Black Saturday Fires". The many reports of heart-breaking loss, miraculous escapes and the sheer power, size and speed of these fires, as well as a personal visit to a property in a badly affected fire zone some two months later, made the unimaginable impact and scale of this extraordinary occurrence, but also the miraculous force of subsequent new life and regrowth, tangibly clear.
“It's been a new and unusual challenge to write a piece for orchestra in the knowledge that it's being co-commissioned as a ballet (for Australian Ballet) and that the choreographer, Graeme Murphy, is waiting in the wings to hear the piece in its concert form before starting to set the piece to dance. The work doesn't follow a particular ‘story’ about the fires and Graeme has also not come to me with any specific plan or narrative for his work. He told me to just write my piece as I want, and not to even think about the dance component in conceiving it. Nevertheless, I must say it has added a certain element to the process of the work's unfolding, knowing that it is to be danced. While several of my orchestral pieces have now been used in dance pieces, this is the first one that has been conceived from the outset with the idea of human movement as a strand of its compositional process.”
Following its Stockholm premiere performances in November, Fire Music can be heard in London on 17 March as part of the BBC Symphony Orchestra’s Total Immersion day devoted to Brett Dean’s music at the Barbican. Graeme Murphy’s new choreography to Fire Music for Australian Ballet is unveiled in Spring 2012 with performances in Melbourne and Sydney. Other Brett Dean highlights over the coming season include a revival of his opera Bliss at the Hamburg State Opera in November and performances of The Lost Art of Letter Writing by violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann in Stuttgart, Helsinki, Dusseldorf, Sydney and Melbourne.
> Trondheim Chamber Music Festival
> Dean Composer Festival, Stockholm
> Further information on Work: Fire Music
Photo: Mark Coulson
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