Søren Nils Eichberg’s Symphony No. 2 is the crowning achievement of an entire body of work that he has been working on since 2008. During a prolonged stay in Italy, he got so many ideas that even the three works he was composing at the time, could not contain them all. The material was used for the double concerto, for an opera and an orchestral work commissioned by the German Ensemble Modern. And the material lives on in his Symphony No. 2, which ends an almost explosive phase of creativity.
You don't need to know the other three works to benefit from the symphony, Søren Nils Eichberg explains. The material that the works have in common also appears in very different ways. In the piece for Ensemble Modern (In Circles) the ideas seem like restless and fleeting whims, while in Symphony No. 2 they are used in a more elaborate manner.
The symphony lasts approx. 25 minutes and is played in one uninterrupted sequence. Nevertheless, it is built according to a classic model, where you get a sense of a first movement, a slow movement and a Finale along the way. It all stems from two contrasting themes, both of which are presented twice at the beginning. It is a symphonic principle that dates back to the infancy of the symphony as a genre. The “double presentation” is particularly useful in music that listeners do not know beforehand.
The first theme of the symphony is a series of chords played by violins and violas. The contrasting theme is a fast, rhythmic bass figure presented by the deep strings. As an introduction, a series of figures is heard in the strings, which are repeated ad libitum. They appear again at the end of the symphony, but the musical course has changed the material. Where the expression was initially aggressive and chaotic, the symphony ends with a concluding and ‘saturated’ feeling.