Scoring Borgen: Halfdan E talks to Barry Forshaw

 I met the talented composer Halfdan E at a meal at the Danish ambassador’s for the stars and creative team of such shows as Borgen and The Killing – and I discovered we had a connection. I’d written the introduction for the Norvik Press edition of Dan Turrell’s Murder in the Dark, and Halfdan had collaborated with the late writer on the CD ‘An Introduction.’ I asked the composer about his work on Borgen: ‘One of the things that tend to grow bigger by the hour when you start working on a score for a TV series, is the ambition for the title sequence and thus the music. Visuals need to be catching, music needs to be absolutely ear-catching. But not only that: in this case, the directors wanted it to reflect the ups and downs of life of the prime minister, but also the stress and cynicism of political life, the intrigue – but also the loneliness, the few warm moments, the bitternes and so on and so forth. A rollercoaster of an intro, in other words, all dispatched in music and in only 40 seconds. Not forgetting a catchy melody, a strong identity. Everything that left my desk was either too melancholy, too pathetic or too heroic, and I was about to despair when I accidentally overheard my neighbouring composer practise a very fast Bach piece, and that more or less was the key to the Borgen intro. Bach has a way of always exploring the consequences of just shifting one note in unexpected ways, which can totally change the direction of the piece, and that was what became the method: to change direction for every two bars or so, to get a constantly shifting emotional impact, ending in an open mood that sets the scene for whatever comes up in the episode. Continue reading

Miraculous Metamorphoses from Reference Recordings in April

An April issue from Reference with the Kansas City Symphony contains three classic modern masterpieces: Hindemith’s Symphonic Metamorphosis, Bartok’s Miraculous Mandarin and Prokofiev’s The Love of Three Oranges. It is also the premiere recording made in the orchestra’s new home, Helzberg Hall at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Missouri. Conductor Michael Stern’s interpretations have been captured in brilliant HDCD sound by GRAMMY®-winning engineer Keith O. Johnson. Producer David Frost won GRAMMY® awards in 2005, 2009, 2011 and 2014 for Classical Producer of the Year. This is Reference Recordings’ fourth release with the Kansas City Symphony.

BIS Records release Adès violin concerto ‘Concentric Paths’ in digital format

Composed in 2005, Thomas Adès’s violin concerto ‘Concentric Paths’ has rapidly become a favourite with both audiences and performers. Displaying a constant growth of melodic ideas and compelling sense of pace and energy, the score has received over a thousand performances to date (including its setting to ballet), earning it a firm place in the repertoire. One of the eminent violinists who have championed the work is Peter Herresthal, who has given its Austrian, Norwegian, Spanish and Australian premières, the latter conducted by Thomas Adès himself, at the 2010 Melbourne Festival. (Since their encounter, the collaboration between Herresthal and Adès has continued, and has borne fruit in a new cadenza by Adès for György Ligeti’s violin concerto, which Herresthal will give the première of during the 2014 Bergen Festival.) On the present recording, made in April 2013, Herresthal is supported by his compatriots in the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Manze, himself an acclaimed violinist as well as conductor. Their performance is being released as a digital album coupled with Three Studies from Couperin. Premièred in 2006, the year after the concerto, the Couperin Studies is a reworking for chamber orchestra of three harpsichord pieces by Adès’s favourite baroque composer: ‘My ideal day’, he has said, ‘would be staying home and playing the harpsichord works of Couperin.’ This first digital-only release from BIS records is available on eclassical now