Fisher King was jointly commissioned by Westdeutscher Rundfunk and the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra with funding from the Norwegian Arts Council (Norsk Kulturråd). The piece was premiered by Håkan Hardenberger and Westdeutscher Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste at Kölner Philharmonie, Cologne on 16 September 2011.
In contrast, the role of the trumpeter has been confined to depicting festive parades and dramatic battles, and to blaring crude fanfares through its almost obscenely protruding bell. But maybe this is the secret of the trumpet: that it is open. Wide open. And perhaps that openness lends it a vulnerability.
In many ways, since we're dealing with the love/hate instrument of my childhood and youth, this trumpet concerto was bound to be become almost autobiographical. It is about visiting some dark places. Low places. The place inhabited by the mythical wounded Fisher King, his country degenerating into a Wasteland, a place we all have been at least once in our life. But it is even more about the hope of transforming that Wasteland into brightness and abundant, flowing energy.
© Rolf Wallin