3 new wind concertos celebrating Carl Nielsen

3 new wind concertos celebrating Carl Nielsen
Anders Koppel, Sunleif Rasmussen, Søren Nils Eichberg

Carl Nielsen was close friends with the members of the Copenhagen Wind Quintet. He had planned to write a solo concerto for each but only finished the flute concerto and the clarinet concerto before his death in 1931. In 2015 we celebrate Nielsen’s 150th anniversary and to mark the occasion the Odense Symphony Orchestra has commissioned the three remaining wind concertos from Anders Koppel, Søren Nils Eichberg and Sunleif Rasmussen. The concertos will be premiered October 2015; the Horn Concerto by Eichberg on October 22 with soloist Tone Sundgård Anker, then the Oboe Concerto by Rasmussen with Henrik Skotte Larsen, and the Bassoon Concerto by Koppel with Morten Østergaard on October 30. The Odense Symphony Orchestra will be conducted by Eivind Aadland and Eva Ollikainen respectively.

“It’s like flying in a dream” says soloist Tone Sundgård Anker about Eichberg’s new Horn Concerto “I imagine I’m standing on top of a skyscraper in New York and look down on all the yellow cabs below, or that I’m on top of a mountain in Norway and feel the thrill in the whole body right before I throw myself out and begin the flight.” Horn player Tone Sundgård Anker chose to commission a piece from Eichberg - whose Horn Trio she has already played and found the piece a welcome challenge among other things - because he writes for the instrument in ways that she hadn’t tried before and found fascinating.

The oboist Henrik Skotte Larsen will premiere Traces in Spaces by Sunleif Rasmussen. As in earlier works Rasmussen explores the space in which the music is being performed, this time by letting five musicians in the orchestra play in the opposite direction of the rest of the orchestra. The Oboe Concerto is called Traces in Spaces because it leaves musical traces in the hall in which it is played. The audience will experience a spaciousness that is new. Even the soloist does not begin playing on stage, but moves around the concert hall and leaves traces in the room,” Sunleif Rasmussen explains.

Anders Koppel has written numerous concertos and has been playing in a trio with a bassoonist for more than 30 years and, as a result, feels very connected to the instrument. Early on in the process he decided that, even though the concerto was commissioned as part of the Nielsen 150 celebrations, he would not give a thought to his compatriots famous works whilst working on the new concerto “but as the composition has developed he sort of … keeps popping up!” says Anders Koppel “So although this piece is completely different from Carl Nielsen, it can be seen as a kind of homage.” Koppel mentions that among other things he uses a snare drum as a tip of the hat to Nielsen’s 5th Symphony, in which the snare drum plays a vital part. He goes on to explain that there are four movements in the concerto and that the orchestra he uses is quite small so the soloist does not have to struggle to be heard; on the contrary, (s)he has his own acoustical space.

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