Under City Skin was commissioned by the Risør Festival of Chamber Music with funding from Det Norske Komponistfond and premiered by Lars Anders Tomter and the Risør Festival Strings conducted by Christian Eggen in Risør Church on 24 June 2009. The version for violin, string orchestra and surround sound was commissioned by Peter Herresthal in 2016. It was premiered by Peter Herresthal and Oslo Camerata conducted by Øyvind Bjørå in the Marble Hall of Sentralen, Oslo, on 17 September 2016, during the Ultima Contemporary Music Festival.
2016 Version for violin, strings and surround-sound electronics
– The pelican mother kills her offspring. After three days she revives them by letting blood from her own chest fall on them.
– A dog that crosses a hyena's shadow will lose its voice.
– A snake that tastes the spit of a fasting man will die.
– The blood of a he-goat can dissolve a diamond
In our time we know better. Or do we? Maybe we still hold an unconsciously mythological relation to the world around us, in spite of its modernisation and urbanisation? Perhaps many of the things we see and hear in the urban jungle contain hidden meanings for us, perhaps they carry strong histories of power, fear, yearning and bliss?
The Mercedes. The High-heeled Shoes. The Park at Night. The Cash Register. The Bus. The City Hall Bells.
In Berlioz's famous viola concerto, young Harold goes to Italy to broaden his mind. Here our protagonist goes under the skin of the city sounds, in a quest to find out what forces are hiding within.
Programme note © 2009 Rolf Wallin