• 3.3.2+bcl.2+cbn/4.3.3.1/timp.3perc/pf.hp/str
  • 11 min
    • 2nd March 2024, Dutch Premiere
    • 26th October 2024, Kulturpalast, Dresden, Germany
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Programme Note

Sebastian Fagerlund was already making a name for himself at around the turn of the millennium, but his real breakthrough and stylistic breakaway came with his Clarinet Concerto of 2005–2006. He has since composed concertos for violin, guitar and bassoon, the last of which was nominated for the Nordic Council’s Music Prize. The biggest of his orchestral works is Ignite (2010), which won the coveted Finnish Teosto Prize in 2010. His first opera was the chamber opera Döbeln (2009), tying in with the war of 1808– 1809 between Russia and Sweden (to which Finland at that time belonged). His next opera, Höstsonaten (Autumn Sonata, 2014–2016) was premiered at the Finnish National Opera

Drifts, co-commissioned by Finnish RSO, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Galicia Symphony Orchestra, is the middle section of an orchestral triptych. Fagerlund already had it in mind to compose a three-part entity while composing his previous orchestral work, Stonework (2014–2015). The third, biggest and in a way consolidating part of the trilogy is a commission from the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the FRSO. The three works have a kind of family affinity and to some extent share basic material, but each is an independent entity in its own right. Fagerlund does not, however, rule out the idea of performing them together as a set.

The idea of an orchestral triptych having dominated his thoughts while composing the first part, Fagerlund decided to make Drifts a mainly slow movement. And as such it begins, marked Largo misterioso. But like so many composers, Fagerlund had difficulty sticking to too detailed a plan and the musical material began to assume a will of its own. After its slow beginning, Drifts picks up speed in a brisker Energico. These two basic tempos dominate the piece, but although the quick material began, as it were, to force itself to the fore, the feeling of slow music still pervades in that the two tempo zones may overlap or be superimposed.

Kimmo Korhonen (Translation Susan Sinisalo)

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