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Musical war stories

Photo: Bård Gundersen

The unthinkable happened in 2022: war broke out on European soil. For this special themed programme, Det Norske Kammerorkester have selected three pieces of music spanning three centuries that in very different ways reveal the anxiety, sadness and anger provoked by war.
Interwoven between the pieces, Oberstløytnant Palle Ydsebø will discuss real world battle tactics and strategy

The Battalia for 10 players, by German baroque composer Heinrich Ignaz Biber, is an attempt to depict the noise and clamour of battle. In lively and humorous style, it includes instrumental effects represent musket shots and blows. There is also a lament for the wounded musketeers.

‘If you hold up a mirror to the world so that she acknowledges her hideous face,’ wrote Karl Amadeus Hartmann about his Concerto Funebre (Funereal Concerto), ‘she may eventually change for the better.’ With Nazi Germany’s invasion of Czechoslovakia burning in his mind as he composed, Hartmann allowed a string of repressed emotions to run through the piece. Tension and anger rise to the surface in harsh outbursts. The Funereal Concerto is loaded with ‘the intellectual and spiritual hopelessness of the period’.

You Know Me From Here, by New York based composer Missy Mazzoli, was originally commissioned for the Kronos Quartet. At its core it is music about loss, but in a positive sense: the beautiful moments that result from jumps into the unknown and leaps of faith. The music itself shifts constantly from earthy, gritty gestures to soaring, leaping melodies.

George Crumb, who died in early 2022, was an innovator in terms of form, texture and subject matter. There’s no way of hiding that Black Angels is a raw, harsh and at times painful listen – but that’s what you would expect from a work inspired by the horrors of the Vietnam War. Subtitled 13 Images From the Dark Land, the music includes references to Schubert's Death and the Maiden and the Requiem’s Dies Irae. With instruments including tuned glasses, vocals and amplified strings, Crumb’s masterpiece approaches the mental horrors of war.

Sat 24 September 19.00

Marmorsalen, Sentralen


Heinrich Ignaz Biber

Battalia á 10

Karl Amadeus Hartmann 

Concerto funebre for violin og strings

Missy Mazzoli

You Know Me From Here 

George Crumb 

Black Angels for electric string quartet


Pekka Kuusisto artistic director

Patricia Kopatchinskaja violin

Palle Ydstebø commentator

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