A wide spread of generations of Norwegian musicians and composers are featured in this year’s closing concert.
Celebrating 75 years as ambassadors of musical diversity and commitment to modern music, KORK presents a programme that shows off their ability to master an eclectic range of musical styles and idioms, from vocal jazz to modernism to contemporary avant garde.
The concert is dedicated to Geir Johnson, who sadly passed away during this year’s festival. He was an irreplaceable figure in the Norwegian cultural life, a co-founder of the Ultima festival and served as executive and artistic director from 1999-2009.
The concert begins with Arne Nordheim’s Adieu – a farewell to the great Polish composer Witold Lutosławski. Nordheim wrote his short and heartfelt piece for string orchestra and bell-like instruments.
KORK will perform works by the great Norwegian jazz vocalist Radka Toneff. Vocalist Kirsti Huke and vocalist and guitarist Petter Vågan join the orchestra to perform a selection of her best loved songs, arranged by Maja S.K. Ratkje and Jon Øivind Ness.
As a tribute to Geir Johnson, the Norwegian percussion trio SISU performs Finnerud 1, an excerpt of the composer’s 3.33.33.
Written for SISU with text by Thorvald Steen, the work’s title refers to Finnish cross-country skiing champion Veikko Hakulinen’s winning time in the 1952 Winter Olympics. Johnson was a huge fan of winter sports and his piece delves into the national trauma experienced by Norwegian fans when their own competitors were beaten to the gold medal by a Finn.
Then follows Rolf Wallin’s percussion fanfare Frap, and Unleash by Bente Leiknes Thorsen. It features the orchestra replicating the sound of children’s voices with all their emotional variations, and is the title work on a new CD featuring her music.
The concert ends with a major new commission for SISU and KORK by Rolf Wallin. His new Mountainwave is an expanded version of his 1992 groundbreaking composition Stonewave, originally written for SISU.