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Henrik Hellstenius: Past & Presence
Henrik Hellstenius

Tora Augestad

Henrik Hellstenius: Past & Presence

Price: € 19.95 13.97
Format: CD
Label: Lawo Classics
UPC: 7090020182513
Catnr: LWC 1229
Release date: 26 November 2021
old €19.95 new € 13.97
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19.95 13.97
old €19.95 new € 13.97
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Label
Lawo Classics
UPC
7090020182513
Catalogue number
LWC 1229
Release date
26 November 2021
Album
Artist(s)
Composer(s)
EN

About the album

A THEATRE OF SOUND AND SILENCE

Henrik Hellstenius’s intense yet unassuming exploration of the interacting worlds of sound and time has spanned more than three decades. That hunger for discovery is perhaps the single most unifying feature across his life and work. It was already forming rapidly in his youth, from his teenage years spent listening to Keith Jarrett and Jan Garbarek to his studies of spectral music with Gérard Grisey in Paris.

In between, Hellstenius studied musicology at the University of Oslo and composition at the Norwegian Academy of Music, where he is now a professor. Even then, Hellstenius was only interested in looking forward. Presently, his music is best heard as an intense reflection on the times we’re in, each piece the culmination of a slate-cleaning hunt for new sounds and delivery techniques that best serve the text (or subtext) in question and often draw out rich assets from minimal or unassuming material.

The composer’s many concertante works, like his operas, tell real-life stories – whether personal and narrative or purely coloristic and abstracted. The mostly vocal works in this collection offer an inside track on the composer’s response to idea and text, full of ‘presence’ and in the present tense, even when elements of the subject matter hark back to the past – to musical or constitutional foundation stones. They reveal the sort of fresh and fragmented lyricism that, in so many of the composer’s works (vocal or otherwise), barely allows itself to be heard.

A constant stimulus for Hellstenius has been the work of performing musicians. ‘They have something I don’t – an intimate knowledge of their instruments and ideas about how it can be used,’ the composer once said. One such musician is the bass clarinetist Diego Lucchesi, with whom Hellstenius worked on projects organized by BIT20, the contemporary music ensemble of Norway’s second city, Bergen. The two soon started to discuss a potential new work for Lucchesi to play. A commission eventually came from Lucchesi’s principal employer, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, for whose 250th season Hellstenius wrote his concerto for bass clarinet, Still Panic, in 2016.

The title refers to an infamous work by the British composer Harrison Birtwistle. Panic is a concerto for alto saxophone, drum kit, woodwinds, brass and percussion first heard at the Last Night of the BBC Proms in London in 1995, after which the corporation received numerous complaints from conservative television viewers. Birtwistle’s piece, which describes ‘the feelings of ecstasy and terror experienced by animals in the night at the sound of Pan’s music’ according to the composer, was played in Bergen in 2000 alongside the first performance of Hellstenius’s own score Theatre of Sleep.

In 2017, Hellstenius fulfilled another commission from the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra with a concertante piece for the ensemble and the Norwegian mezzo-soprano and actor Tora Augestad. As If The Law Is Everything uses material included in the work Loven (‘The Law’), written for the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra three years previously.

A consummate singing actor, Augestad has been a longstanding collaborator of the composer’s and sang the role of the Queen in his second opera Ophelias: Death by Water Singing (also available on LAWO). Hellstenius had Augestad’s voice in mind when writing the piece. ‘She has this special timbre in her voice, or more specific, timbres: a strange combination of the German Weill tradition and the classical lied tradition and long experience as a singer of contemporary music,’ he says.

As If The Law Is Everything sets verse by the Norwegian author and poet Øyvind Rimbereid that reflects on laws both natural and manmade. Across seven sections, Hellstenius’s work explores criminal law, the laws of nature and what Rimbereid refers to as ‘the first human law’ – to be present for each other and caring of one another. Included are first-person portraits of three women: a thief hiding from the authorities, a judge reflecting ‘on the fragile balance between right and wrong’ and a murder victim who, in the first instance, the law has failed.

Robert Schumann’s song cycle Dichterliebe is one of music history’s most moving and admired song cycles. It was written in a little over a week in 1840, in the midst of a personal crisis in which Schumann’s prospective father-in-law was attempting to block the composer’s marriage to his daughter, mostly by slandering him. Partly in rebellion against the social order that held sway in Germany, Schumann turned to the poetry of Heinrich Heine, whose works looked west to Paris in their freedom, outspokenness and scented language.

Hellstenius’s own Dichterliebe from 2015 consists of ‘composed interpretations’ of eight of Schumann’s songs – a look at Dichterliebe through twenty-first century eyes but with the apparatus of the symphony orchestra Schumann knew well (albeit extended). An excavation of the original music’s structural and emotional layers led Hellstenius to look for ways of allowing the songs to ‘ring with a new atmosphere and sound’.


Artist(s)

Tora Augestad (mezzo soprano)

Tora Augestad’s versatility inspires composers, theatre directors, conductors, and fellow musicians alike. Her vocal capabilities defy easy classification: she is flexible, expressive yet precise, theatrically convincing with a compelling personality. Augestad (b. 1979) sings a broad variety of genres, primarily devoting herself to repertoire of the 20th and 21st centuries. She regularly commissions new works, amongst them a feministic chamber opera by Cecilie Ore that premiered at the Bergen International Festival in 2015. Since 2010 she has collaborated with the Swiss director Christoph Marthaler, spanning opera projects with music by Handel, Verdi, and Beat Furrer, to the playful combination of classical, jazz, cabaret, and pop music in Marthaler's own projects.   Born in Bergen, Norway, she studied classical music and jazz singing...
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Tora Augestad’s versatility inspires composers, theatre directors, conductors, and fellow musicians alike. Her vocal capabilities defy easy classification: she is flexible, expressive yet precise, theatrically convincing with a compelling personality. Augestad (b. 1979) sings a broad variety of genres, primarily devoting herself to repertoire of the 20th and 21st centuries. She regularly commissions new works, amongst them a feministic chamber opera by Cecilie Ore that premiered at the Bergen International Festival in 2015. Since 2010 she has collaborated with the Swiss director Christoph Marthaler, spanning opera projects with music by Handel, Verdi, and Beat Furrer, to the playful combination of classical, jazz, cabaret, and pop music in Marthaler's own projects.
Born in Bergen, Norway, she studied classical music and jazz singing in Oslo and Stockholm before graduating with a master’s degree in cabaret singing from the Norwegian Academy of Music. A fascination with German cabaret led her to Berlin where she has resided since 2007. In 2004 she founded the ensemble Music for a While with exquisite performers from the Norwegian music scene. Her ensemble, BOA explores the landscape between avant-garde and pop music. In 2015 she was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize. In addition, she works closely with the composer and saxophonist Trygve Seim. Since 2014, Tora Augestad is joint artistic director of the Hardanger Musikkfest.
Augestad regularly performs with orchestras such as the Bergen Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Bamberg and NDR Symphony Orchestras, Ensemble Modern, and Klangforum Wien. In 2019 she will make her debut at both the Philharmonie de Paris and Elbphilharmonie Hamburg with a world premiere by Philippe Manoury.

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Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, a Norwegian national orchestra, dates back to 1765. Edvard Grieg served as its artistic director from 1880 to 1882. Edward Gardner is Chief Conductor and Sir Mark Elder is the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor. The orchestra was nominated 'Orchestra of the Year' 2020 by Gramophone and won two Gramophone Classical Music Awards in 2021: Recording of the Year and Opera Award Winner for Britten’s Peter Grimes. In recent years, the orchestra has played in the Concertgebouw, at the BBC Proms, Wiener Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Carnegie Hall, New York, Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and the Philharmonie, Berlin. The orchestra and Edward Gardner appeared at the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) (2017) and Royal Festival Hall (2019) with their critically acclaimed production of...
more
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, a Norwegian national orchestra, dates back to 1765. Edvard Grieg served as its artistic director from 1880 to 1882. Edward Gardner is Chief Conductor and Sir Mark Elder is the orchestra’s Principal Guest Conductor.
The orchestra was nominated 'Orchestra of the Year' 2020 by Gramophone and won two Gramophone Classical Music Awards in 2021: Recording of the Year and Opera Award Winner for Britten’s Peter Grimes. In recent years, the orchestra has played in the Concertgebouw, at the BBC Proms, Wiener Musikverein and Konzerthaus, Carnegie Hall, New York, Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and the Philharmonie, Berlin.
The orchestra and Edward Gardner appeared at the Edinburgh International Festival (EIF) (2017) and Royal Festival Hall (2019) with their critically acclaimed production of Peter Grimes. In 2022 the orchestra was invited back to the Edinburgh International Festival and received rave reviews for their performance of Strauss’ Salome.
Edward Gardner and the Orchestra has released a series of recordings, including a Grammy-nominated recording of Janáčeks Glagolitic Mass, Schönberg’s Gurre-Lieder, songs by Sibelius, Grieg’s Piano Concerto and Incidental music to Peer Gynt, Schoenberg’s Erwartung and Pelleas und Melisande, Britten’s Peter Grimes with Stuart Skelton and Erin Wall, songs by Britten and Canteloube with soprano Mari Eriksmoen and a CD with saxophonist Marius Neset. In 2023 they released Nordheim’s Tempest (LWC1250).

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Edward Gardner (conductor)

The English conductor Edward Gardner was born in Gloucester in 1974 and sang as a chorister at Gloucester Cathedral. As a youth, he played piano, clarinet and organ. He had begun choral conducting at Eton, and continued conducting at Cambridge. From 1997 until 2002, Edward Gardner was Musical Director of Wokingham Choral Society, a post previously held by Graeme Jenkins, Paul Daniel, and Stephen Layton. In 1999, whilst still a student at the Royal Academy of Music, Gardner became a repetiteur at the Salzburg Festival at the invitation of Michael Gielen. Gardner subsequently served as an assistant conductor to Mark Elder at the Hallé Orchestra for 3 years, and he was music director of Glyndebourne on Tour from 2003 till 2007. In September...
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The English conductor Edward Gardner was born in Gloucester in 1974 and sang as a chorister at Gloucester Cathedral. As a youth, he played piano, clarinet and organ. He had begun choral conducting at Eton, and continued conducting at Cambridge.
From 1997 until 2002, Edward Gardner was Musical Director of Wokingham Choral Society, a post previously held by Graeme Jenkins, Paul Daniel, and Stephen Layton. In 1999, whilst still a student at the Royal Academy of Music, Gardner became a repetiteur at the Salzburg Festival at the invitation of Michael Gielen. Gardner subsequently served as an assistant conductor to Mark Elder at the Hallé Orchestra for 3 years, and he was music director of Glyndebourne on Tour from 2003 till 2007.
In September 2010, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra announced the appointment of Gardner as its next Principal Guest Conductor, effective September 2011, with an initial contract of 3 years, for 3-4 weeks of concerts per season. He concluded his term as Principal Guest Conductor of the CBSO in July 2016. Outside of the UK, in February 2013, Edward Gardner was simultaneously named the next Principal Guest Conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, effective August 2013, and the orchestra's next Principal Conductor effective with the 2015-2016 season. In January 2017, the orchestra has announced that Gardner's contract will be extended untill 2021.

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Composer(s)

Henrik Hellstenius

Henrik Hellstenius (born 1963), a Norwegian composer, studied composition at the Norwegian Academy of Music and with Gérard Grisey at Conservatoire Supérieur. Hellstenius’s output encompasses a large range of works: chamber music, orchestral works, opera, electro-acoustic music and music for theatre and dance. His music has been performed frequently at concerts and festivals around the world by ensembles and musicians such as Cikada, BIT20, Oslo Sinfonietta, Court Circuit, Irvine Arditti, Peter Herresthal, asamisimasa, Hans Kristian Kjos Sørensen, Ensemble El Perro Andaluz, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Stavanger Philharmonic Orchestra. His first opera, Sera, received the Norwegian Edvard Award in 2000, and has been staged in Oslo and Warsaw. His second opera, Ophelias: Death by Water Singing, premiered in Oslo in...
more
Henrik Hellstenius (born 1963), a Norwegian composer, studied composition at the Norwegian Academy of Music and with Gérard Grisey at Conservatoire Supérieur.
Hellstenius’s output encompasses a large range of works: chamber music, orchestral works, opera, electro-acoustic music and music for theatre and dance. His music has been performed frequently at concerts and festivals around the world by ensembles and musicians such as Cikada, BIT20, Oslo Sinfonietta, Court Circuit, Irvine Arditti, Peter Herresthal, asamisimasa, Hans Kristian Kjos Sørensen, Ensemble El Perro Andaluz, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra and Stavanger Philharmonic Orchestra.
His first opera, Sera, received the Norwegian Edvard Award in 2000, and has been staged in Oslo and Warsaw. His second opera, Ophelias: Death by Water Singing, premiered in Oslo in 2005 and was staged in Warsaw, Oslo and Osnabrück, Germany. It was recorded in 2014 and released on the LAWO Classics label in 2016 (LWC1098). In 2022 he received a Spellemann Award (Norway’s Grammy) as ‘Composer of the Year’ for the release Past & Presence, also on the LAWO Classics label (LWC1229).
Hellstenius has been composer in residence with the Bergen International Festival 2011, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra 2013/2014, and the June in Buffalo Festival 2017.
In recent years Hellstenius has focused on the musical relationship between sound, words and movement in its many forms, ranging from staged concerts and performance works to musical theatre pieces. He is at present conducting an artistic research project, ‘Extended Compositon’, where he focuses on the possibilities in composition with movement, sound and language.
Hellstenius is also a professor of composition at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo and has been a guest teacher of composition at festivals, conservatories and universities in Germany, the USA, Austria, France and the Nordic countries.

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Press

Play album Play album
01.
As If The Law Is Everything (2017): I. The Law
02:49
(Henrik Hellstenius) Tora Augestad, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
02.
As If The Law Is Everything (2017): II. To Be
05:50
(Henrik Hellstenius) Tora Augestad, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
03.
As If The Law Is Everything (2017): III. The Stars
06:39
(Henrik Hellstenius) Tora Augestad, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
04.
As If The Law Is Everything (2017): IV. The Laws Of Nature (first part)
04:15
(Henrik Hellstenius) Tora Augestad, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
05.
As If The Law Is Everything (2017): V. She Who Fell
05:59
(Henrik Hellstenius) Tora Augestad, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
06.
As If The Law Is Everything (2017): VI. The Laws Of Nature (second part)
03:04
(Henrik Hellstenius) Tora Augestad, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
07.
As If The Law Is Everything (2017): VII. Epilogue
03:50
(Henrik Hellstenius) Tora Augestad, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
08.
Still Panic (2016)
14:26
(Henrik Hellstenius) Diego Lucchesi, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
09.
Robert Schumanns Dicterliebe (2015): I. Im wunderschönen Monat Mai
01:51
(Henrik Hellstenius) Tora Augestad, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
10.
Robert Schumanns Dicterliebe (2015): II. Aus meinen Tränen spriessen
01:20
(Henrik Hellstenius) Tora Augestad, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
11.
Robert Schumanns Dicterliebe (2015): III. Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube, die Sonne
01:10
(Henrik Hellstenius) Tora Augestad, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
12.
Robert Schumanns Dicterliebe (2015): V. Ich will meine Seele tauchen
02:01
(Henrik Hellstenius) Tora Augestad, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
13.
Robert Schumanns Dicterliebe (2015): VIII. Und wüssten’s die Blumen, die kleinen
01:47
(Henrik Hellstenius) Tora Augestad, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
14.
Robert Schumanns Dicterliebe (2015): IX. Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen
01:29
(Henrik Hellstenius) Tora Augestad, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
15.
Robert Schumanns Dicterliebe (2015): X. Hör’ ich das Liedchen klingen
02:35
(Henrik Hellstenius) Tora Augestad, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
16.
Robert Schumanns Dicterliebe (2015): XIII. Ich hab im Traum geweinet
03:26
(Henrik Hellstenius) Tora Augestad, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
show all tracks

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