Karin Rehnqvist: New Work Premiere

Karin Rehnqvist has a new work, Requiem aeternam receiving its World Premiere tonight at Glasgow City Halls and then tomorrow night at Edinburgh's Queens Hall (both performances at 7:30). This piece was co-commissioned by the Swedish Chamber Orchestra and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra with funding from the Scottish Government. It is a kind of requiem, though reflecting hope and consolation as much as the darker aspects of loss. Other pieces to be performed at this concert are the miniatures by the Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu (Tree Line and Requiem) and Australian Brett Dean’s Pastoral Symphony.

The concert is exciting on many levels, one: the chance to hear a new work is always of interest, particularly when the new work is with voice and orchestra. With my interest in opera, hearing new works and the way the deal with the voice is always educational. Two: Dean's Pastoral Symphony will give me a chance to compare his chamber symphony to my own work premiered last June. Both composers are fairly frequently performed and have a sizeable list of works.

Listening to some of Karin's works she has a tonal style, that pushes the bounds of tonality, with shimmering semitones and cluster chords. Yet, there are elements of melody that sneak in, or soar above depending on the piece. In her piece In Heaven's Hall, the voices are clear, melodic with interesting harmonic movement as they climb toward the climax.

Brett Dean is almost exactly a year older than me and yet is already established as a composer/conductor world wide. That may be in part to the 15 years he spent with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. He's won numerous awards and currently holds the position of Artistic Director of the Australian National Academy of Music. While it is not part of this concert, Brett wrote Komorov's Fall, part of a series of 'asteroids' to accompany Holst's The Planets. As I really enjoy Holst's music, considering it an influence to my own music, it will be interesting to hear how Brett's music plays out in his symphony.

The performances tonight and tomorrow (I am attending the Edinburgh performance) should be wonderful experiences.


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