Norwegian evening at #EnescuOnline with the world premiere of a Øyvind Torvund Symphonic Poem And Grieg’s Piano Concerto performed by Leif Ove Andsnes and The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
Between May 27 and 30, the Enescu Festival Online hosts a special encounter with the first-class Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko and formidable pianist Leif Ove Andsnes. The concert was performed on the Grand Palace Hall’s stage during the 2019 George Enescu International Festival. A revelation of recent years, the ensemble opened with a new composition by the Norwegian composer Øyvind Torvund, Morgon i skogen (Forest Morning), which draw an invisible link to Grieg‘s already “classic” Morning.
This was followed by the main attraction on the programme, a performance of Leif Ove Andsnes in one of his signature calling cards, Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor. In a new and memorable appearance, Andnes’ rendition of this Romantic opus par excellence was wrapped in a classy calm and delivered with irreproachable technical accuracy. The second part was dedicated to the Concerto for Orchestra Sz. 116 by Béla Bartók, which revealed a miraculous mixture of strength and sensitivity attained by the orchestra, emphasised by the flair and vision clarity of conductor Vasily Petrenko. Under Petrenko’s baton, the wonderfully colourful and sophisticated orchestration of the Bartók’s music demonstrated how much this ensemble has really grown in recent years.
The Norwegians honoured their presence in the 2019 Enescu Festival by staging the world premiere of The Symphonic Poem no. 1: Forest Morning, created by the young Norwegian composer Øyvind Torvund (b. 1976). The poem pays homage to the beauty of wooded landscapes while evoking the modern world’s interference into the forest’s life. A complex musical personality, Øyvind Torvund has played the guitar in rock bands and improvised music concerts. This eclectic musical style reflects also in his almost cinematic compositions, which include rock phrases as well as nature sounds, along with entire passages elaborated on filigree structures reminiscent of Purcell’s compositions. Speaking about his compositional style, Øyvind Torvund confesses: “My chief concern is keeping an open approach as to what may function as the constitutive parts of a work of music, and trying to combine several kinds and levels of elements. […] Contrasts, juxtapositions and opposite perspectives interest me because I believe that a lot is happening around and beneath the ordinary musical framework and a lot of unconscious forces to be explored.”
Celebrating a century of activity in 2019, Oslo Philharmonic is an internationally renowned symphony orchestra with over 100 musicians today. The orchestra performs more than 70 concerts a year, mostly at the Oslo Concert Hall, but also on many other famous stages around the world. It has a wide symphonic repertoire, plays with internationally renowned soloists and conductors, and makes regular tours in Norway and abroad.
The Russian conductor Vasily Petrenko was appointed Chief Conductor of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra in 2013. Considered “one of the most important and magnetic musicians in the world”, he became famous for his transformative work at the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the oldest orchestra in the United Kingdom, where he restored the sound of the orchestra, reconnected the organization to its hometown and presided over a huge increase in ticket sales. He quickly came to represent a new generation of conductors, ready to combine their uncompromising artistic work with a passion for communication and inclusion.
The New York Times calls Leif Ove Andsnes “a pianist of magisterial elegance, power, and insight”, and The Wall Street Journal states he is “one of the most gifted musicians of his generation.” With his commanding technique and exploratory interpretations, the celebrated Norwegian pianist has won acclaim worldwide, playing concerts and recitals in the world’s leading concert halls and with its foremost orchestras. An avid chamber musician, he is the founding director of the Rosendal Chamber Music Festival.
photo credit: Cătălina Filip