OLAV ANTON THOMMESSEN (b. 1946)
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Code: BIS SACD 1512
|BULL's eye (2003) for violin solo and double orchestra; Please Accept my Ears (1981) for violin and piano; Cantabile (Etyde-cadenza) (1995) for solo violin
Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra/Rolf Gupta
Norwegian composer Olav Anton Thommessen describes BULL's eye as 'a symphonic wrapping' of Ole Bull's first violin concerto from 1834. A leading figure in Norwegian musical life, Thommessen has often in his later works explored the history of music, using the heritage of classical music as a 'supply-room' of musical building components. For BULL's eye, his starting point was an incomplete score by the great Norwegian violin virtuoso, a score where long stretches of the solo part was missing. Struck by Bull's melodic, Italianate themes and the examples of his virtuosic violin technique, evident in the extant passages of the violin part, Thommessen was inspired to borrow components from Ole Bull's themes, harmony, rhythm, orchestration and virtuosity, put them under scrutiny and then confront them with his own material. The result is a fascinating work where one can never be sure which concerto one is hearing: Bull's or Thommessen's. For the soloist the challenges are greater than usual, due to the need to change between styles of playing - on the one hand Bull's Paganini-inspired alternation between virtuosity and melodic charm, and on the other Thommessen's virile and violent eruptions. The solo violin also has to fight against both Thommessen's monumental orchestra and Bull's more classical scoring in order to impose himself. The work was written for Peter Herresthal, whose previous release on BIS (Arne Nordheim - the music for violin, BIS-CD-1212) was received with great acclaim, and who again gives a congenial interpretation, greatly aided by Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Rolf Gupta. The 35 minute concerto is followed by two other violin works by Olav Anton Thommessen: Please Accept my Ears for violin and piano and Cantabile (Etyde-cadenza) for solo violin.