Meet Arne Nordheim in Berlin

Sunday February 2 is a rare chance for the Berlin audience to meet Norway’s most distinguished living composer – Arne Nordheim. Through a series of portraits of composers - Komponistenportät – the audience is able to meet the composer, hear selected works, learn about the composer’s own views and ask questions directly to him.

Arne Nordheim

Komische Oper in Berlin is the venue for next weekend’s composer’s portrait that focuses on widely respected and applauded Norwegian composer Arne Nordheim. A selection of Nordheim’s works are performed by a highly competent ensemble made up of musicians from the Berlin Opera and the Philharmonic Orchestra. In between the performances, the audience is free to ask questions to the composer and Nordheim will also discuss thoroughly aspects of his compositions.

The Komponistenportät begins with one of Nordheim’s earlier works: Aftonland from 1957. This piece is a song-cycle for soprano and chamber orchestra with Bodil Andersen as the featured vocalist. Nordheim’s earlier works often concentrated on exploring new sonorous qualities created by traditional instruments, and Aftonland is one of his best known pieces from this period.

Next on the programme is devoted to Nordheim’s focus on electronic and electro-acoustic compositions. The ensemble will perform extracts from the two electro-acoustic works Aurora (1983) and Pache.

The evening with Nordheim will be concluded with one of his latest works: Five Stages for 4 from 2001. Interestingly, this string quartet has a striking resemblance to his earlier works such as Aftonland in that it is a return to the conventional and a search for a new harmony within the realms of a regular ensemble.

Says Nordheim of the link between his past and present works: This is a passage where influences travel over time. Everything, the past and the present are intertwined. Five Stages for 4 is a return to the conventional and has much in common with early works such as Aftonland – it’s a search for new harmony.

Nordheim is no stranger to such direct meetings with the audience. In the past he has done similar sessions together with among others the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra. Says Nordheim of his upcoming Berlin Komponistenportät: I’m looking forward to this session, this meeting between composer and audience. Such sessions can produce many interesting topics and questions – maybe also create some new ideas.

You can read more on Arne Nordheim on his own pages.

More on the event in German can be found on the Norwegian Embassy in Berlin’s site.

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