Hellstenius examines human relations on new album

Hellstenius examines human relations on new album
© Lars Skaaning

On February 9, 2024, BIS Records released an album of Henrik Hellstenius' music recorded by Nordic Voices, Hans-Kristian Kjos Sørensen, Stavanger Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ilan Volkov. 

The album features two works by Hellstenius: Public Behaviour and Together. Both works deal intimately with human nature, our understanding of ourselves and our relationship to others. 


Looking for something to blow the musical cobwebs away? Try Henrik Hellstenius. For the past three decades, the Norwegian composer has developed a bold, dynamic musical language that delves deep into the dark underbelly of the human condition. 
- Pwyll ap Siôn, review of the album on Gramophone


Public Behaviour

Has not the market and cultural commerce's false representation of us as sovereign, individual consumers and "experiencers" of the world only confused people and made us believe that we don't have to develop our abilities in interaction and togetherness?
– Henrik Hellstenius

Public Behaviour  is a seven parts “concerto grosso” for six singers, solo percussion/voice and orchestra on texts by the composer, based on ideas and quotations from the American sociologist Richard Sennett and others.



The work is intended as a meditation on the relationship between "me and the other(s)". How I relate to people I meet, work with, and live with, is the question. I must deal with people I do not understand, who I do not like or with whom I strongly disagree. But how do I do it? How do I relate to "the other", when "the other" is so different from myself that I cannot use my usual strategies?
–Henrik Hellstenius

Together is scored for six vocal soloists, a percussionist, and piano / electronics. The text is by Henrik Hellstenius inspired by texts of the American sociologist Richard Sennet, the French philosopher Emmanuel Levinas and the French author and mystic Jeanne de Salzmann.


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