With this program, The Norwegian Soloists´ Choir emphasizes one of its head priorities: performance of newly written works in combination with classical works from the Nordic and international choral repertoire. This is represented by a world premiere of a commissioned piece written by the Norwegian composer Ørjan Matre (b. 1979) with support from Det Norske Komponistfond, Orphic Songs, followed up by a performance of a work by the young Swedish composer Maja Linderoth (b. 1989). The title Orphic Songs refers to Orphism which is the name given to a set of religious beliefs and practices originating in the Ancient Greek and the Hellenistic world, associated with literature ascribed to the mythical poet Orpheus, who descended into Hades and returned. Orphic Songs uses texts from two different sources: Prologue, Rite I and Rite II include fragments from the Orphic Rhapsodies, Hymn to Sleep and Hymn to Death are set to two of the Orphic Hymns.
Throughout this year, the choir has focused on works by J. Haydn in several occations and productions. At this concert, Haydn will be presented through three of his Vierstimmige Gesänge: Die Beredsamkeit, Die Harmonie in der Ehe and Warnung. We have many reasons to believe that these songs were inspired by Haydn´s memories of his stays in England, where he got to know the popular English madrigals. The various songs convey different moods.
Helmut Lachenmann’s Consolation II (1968) is based on fragments of language, on the physical remains of the sounds of language. The basis for the text is a medieval prayer, the ‘Wessobrunner Gebet’, the oldest existing Christian text in the German language. It describes the creation of the world and ends by comparing this to the grace God grants the individual believer, in the form of faith and hope and the strength to withstand evil. For Lachenmann the text is a raw material; he reduces it to fragments, to syllables and sounds which the singers articulate dramatically and with virtuosity – and yet its meaning seems to emerge in this lost language rendered unintelligible, as if from far away.
This concert also draws lines to another big project for the choir this year: a recording of all J. S. Bach´s motets. This recording is an extension of a project from 2015 where the choir and its Artistic Leader Grete Pedersen performed all Bach´s motets. This CD will be released next year. The Swedish composer Sven-David Sandström has made comments to several of these motets. At this concert one of these will be performed: Fürchte dich nicht – perhaps of one the less known of these works.