Finally done with my latest piece entitled “On Urban Ground “. It is an orchestral piece written as a comment on Beethoven’s Pastorale Symphony No. 6. The piece was commissioned by NorrlandsOperans Symphony Orchestra and the premiere will take place on January 18, 2014 as a part of the European Capital of Culture year in Umeå 2014.
NorrlandsOperans has commissioned nine “comments” on the Beethoven symphonies and last year (?) there was a draw which ended up with me getting paired up with Beethovens Pastoral Symphony No. 6. It was maybe not the one I would have choosed myself but I was glad to not being paired with symphony no. 5 or 9!
Composing this piece was not an easy task at all… I did spend a lot of time to get under the skin of this symphony. Symphony No. 6 is essentially different from many of Beethovens other symphonies. He is not taking too many dared routes compared to no. 5 (for instance) that was composed during the same years. On the other side you will find a lot of other composers that were inspired by this specific symphony. Rossini, Bruckner and not at least Mahler. Have a listen to the ending of the third movement of the Beethoven symphony and find the direct inspiration for Mahler in his first movement of his first symphony with imitations of birds in the wood winds. Further on Mahlers last movement, in the same symphony, entitled “Stürmisch Bewegt” (Stormily agitated) calls for massive inspiration from Beethovens fourth movement “Gewitter. Sturm” (Thunder. Storm). As did I get inspiration from this movement. At least it is the movement with the most attitude! “On Urban Ground” could be described as an “Urban Storm” that lends some material from both Mahler and Beethoven. Some well covered behind veils and some a bit more clear.
Premiere in Umeå January 18, 2014.
NorrlandsOperans Symfoniorkester conducted by Rumon Gamba.