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Synne Skouen

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Autumn Arias

1 recording

  1. There is only one thing that can touch me as much as music, and that is people. So no wonder; musicians are my favourite kind. And some musicians possess an awareness and sincerity that to me is what it´s all about.
    Two such musicians are the soloists of this first performance: Hans Christian Bræin, clarinet, and Øystein Birkeland, cello, for whom the work was written.
    Then there is the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, with whom I´ve had some of my finest listening experiences over the years; an orchestra filled with all the excellence that the current Norwegian orchestral scene can offer.
    It is also the orchestra that could fulfill my first wish with the work: To write music with virtually no fixed time signatures also for a larger ensemble, without a conductor. Thus everything rests upon the experience of music as an acute awareness of gesture and situational flow; somehow an instrumental theatre, where one of the soloists, the clarinetplayer, never becomes a member of the ensemble.
    The first part, Prolog, begins in the middle of the audience, where some of the members of the orchestra have separated themselves. It is they who, independently and from different angles in the room, give ”the upbeat” and get the music started. And just as we think the piece is on track, and the ”stray musicians” have started to approach the podium, still another ”outsider” introduces himself, from his discreet position behind the audience: the clarinetplayer.
    During the prologue and the two following parts, Stilleben and Torso , the clarinetplayer gradually approaches the solo-cellist and the ensemble. But instead of finally getting integrated, he ends up merely passing through the orchestra and disappearing in the background.
    It is very much up to soloists and orchestra how Autumn Arias are shaped. For my part I have ”given the notes”, and placed the musicians in the room. The rest is up to them – and the audience.
    Synne Skouen
    Autumn Arias is a work commissioned by the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, with support from Arts Council Norway.