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Arctic Pastorale & Dance
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ARCTIC PASTORALE AND DANCE (2016) – TORSTEIN AAGAARD-NILSEN
Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen studied at the University of Bergen (mathematics) and Bergen Music Conservatory, where he studied trumpet playing, music theory, composition and pedagogy. He lives in Manger in Hordaland (Norway) and makes a living as a composer, arranger, conductor, and lecturer.
Aagaard-Nilsen's words about the music:
IIn Arctic Pastorale and Dance I explore colors and combinations of sounds by using the extreme span in register of these two instruments. The technique used could be described as something between a two voice counterpoint and heterophony. Arctic Pastorale and Dance makes references to nature, primarily from the Lofot Islands.
Pastorale is a form of music that originally is not connected to the arctic area at all. This pastorale must be different than what one expects. During the summer, when the sun never sets and the light is spectacular twenty-four-seven, this brightness brings life and energy beyond belief. This pastorale is hymn-like, like an adoration. The dance that follows also defies traditional expectations. The triplets could suggest something like a tarantella, but I strove to defy the solidity of this possibility. This dance is not human. It embodies the forces of nature whirling. So much energy, so much danger, so much joy.
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ATLANTIC CROSSINGS (2022) – MARCUS PAUS
Marcus Nicolay Paus is a Norwegian composer and one of the most performed contemporary Scandinavian composers. As a classical contemporary composer, he is noted as a representative of a reorientation toward tradition, tonality and melody, and his works have been lauded by critics in Norway and abroad. His work includes chamber music, choral works, solo works, concerts, orchestral works, operas, symphonies, and church music, as well as works for theatre, film and television. Paus is regarded as "one of the most celebrated classical composers of Norway" and "the leading Norwegian composer of his generation.
Paus' words about the music:
The title "Atlantic Crossings" alludes to the fact that the Northern Lights Duo is indeed a transatlantic duo, based in Norway and the US.
I wanted to offer them a work where both the euphonium and tuba would be given a chance to sing, but also a piece that would exploit the vast range of these magnificent instruments, and their rich capacity for virtuoso passages.
While two lyrical movements frame a central fugal scherzo, all three movements share material, giving the work a sense of unity in spite of contrasts, and hopefully lending a note of arrival to the final movement.
COMING HOME (2022) – EVIS SAMMOUTIS
Evis Sammoutis' works have been commissioned and performed by numerous organizations, leading festivals, and contemporary music series in more than 40 countries worldwide and broadcast on several national radio stations throughout the globe. He has received numerous accolades and over 35 compositional awards, prizes, and scholarships as well as recognition at competitions, including the Royal Philharmonic Society Award. His catalogue includes over 55 works scored for various combinations. He is currently Associate Professor of Music Composition and Director of Electronic Music Studios at Ithaca College, NY.
Sammoutis' words about the music:
“Coming Home” explores the rich coloristic and virtuosic connections between the euphonium and the tuba through a fusion of extended and traditional techniques.
The composition's title derives from the popular American Civil War song "When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” a song which resonated with both sides, before becoming an all-time classic.
The basic material of this song is used in the middle section of my piece, but in a masked format, developed through heterophony, ornamentation, and unusual resolutions.
The “bloop,” an underwater ultra-low frequency detected by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 25 years ago, inspired much of the material of the opening section of the work, whereas the final section was inspired by the Transatlantic Telegraph.
This is reflected through my rhythmical transcription of the two first names of the performers (Bente and David) in Morse code, to create a musical cryptogram, which ultimately bounds “Coming Home” to these two wonderful musicians to whom the composition is wholeheartedly dedicated to.