Bent Sørensen’s music played by Nordic world stars on new album
A new album offers you three concertos that have been written for three of the finest musicians in Scandinavia: the pianist Leif Ove Andsnes, the clarinettist Martin Fröst and the trumpetist Tine Thing Helseth.
A new release presents the first recording of three instrumental concertos by Bent Sørensen, played by three highly acclaimed soloists from Northern Europe, starting with Leif Ove Andsnes in the 2nd Piano Concerto, followed by Martin Fröst in the Clarinet Concerto with its scent of Spanish poetry, and concluding with Tine Thing Helseth, who in the Trumpet Concerto breathes life into Sørensen’s never-ending fascination with the beauty and vulnerability of Venice.
Exploration of the classical symphony orchestra
Bent Sørensen (b. 1958) is one of Northern Europe’s leading composers, and his music has commanded considerable international attention. In 2018, he received the prestigious American Grawemeyer Award, and earlier this year he was topical in Copenhagen, when the Danish National Symphony Orchestra gave the first performance of his 2nd Symphony.
The solo concertos are central in Bent Sørensen’s constant exploration and development of the classical symphony orchestra. Each of the three concertos on the new album is a separate single organism, with the soloist as a shining focal point and the rest of the orchestra as an echo chamber that enlarges and frames the distinctive mood and power that radiates from the solo player. For the same reason, the soloist is not really ever alone in the inserted cadenzas, but always part of an interaction.
Playful musical interaction between soloist and orchestra
The first work on the album is the piano concerto La Mattina (2007-09), recorded by the Norwegian virtuoso Leif Ove Andsnes, together with The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Per Kristian Skalstad. The concerto was written for Andsnes, inspired by the meeting between them at the piano bar Broadway and, according to the composer himself: “It is the deepest and darkest piece I have ever written; but it rose up, as we did that morning the night had turned into when we left Broadway I Vienna.2
As in the piano concerto, the composition of the orchestra in Bent Sørensen’s Trumpet Concerto (2012-13) is classical – a perfect setting for the musical playfulness that arises between soloist and orchestra. The work was composed bearing in mind Tine Thing Helseth’s particular capacity to make the trumpet sound so incredibly softly. It too has been recorded with The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra.
The two concertos were recorded in connection with the celebration of Bent Sørensen’s 60th birthday at a concert at the Ultima Festival in Oslo in September 2018.
The Sonning version from DR Koncerthuset
The clarinet concerto Serenidad (2011-12) is heard on the album in a live recording of the so-called Sonning version, which was played with The Danish National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Thomas Søndergård, when Martin Fröst received the Léonie Sonning Music Prize in 2014. Here the pre-recorded material of the original version was replaced by seven clarinets who were positioned round the stage and among the audience in concert hall towards the end of the last movement.
Stream the album here.