Haflidi Hallgrímsson - Peter Sheppard Skærved

Haflidi Hallgrímsson
updated 22 June 2000
One of the most important figures in this flowering of Icelandic music is Haflidi
Hallgrímsson, born in 1941 in the small town of Akureyri on the north coast of
Iceland. He began playing the cello at the age of ten and studied in Reykjavik and
the Accademia Santa Cecilia in Rome. On returning from Rome, he continued his
studies in London with Derek Simpson at the Royal Academy of Music and was
awarded the coveted Madame Suggia Prize in 1966. The following year he began
compositional studies with Dr Alan Bush and Sir Peter Maxwell Davies. On
leaving the Academy, he remained in Britain, eventually making his home in
Scotland on being appointed Principal Cellist with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Despite his success as a performer, the urge to compose became stronger and in
1983 Hallgrímsson left his post with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra to devote
himself to this activity full-time. His catalogue includes instrumental, chamber and
orchestral works and he achieved international recognition for the highly successful
Poemi for solo violin and string orchestra, awarded the prestigious Nordic Council
Prize in 1986 after winning second prize at the 1985 International Wieniawski
Competition and the Icelandic Dagbladid Visir Cultural Prize. Poemi is the first
piece in an ongoing series of works for solo instrument and string orchestra and has
been followed by Ríma (1993) for soprano and string orchestra, commissioned by
the Olympics committee for the opening of the 1994 Winter Olympics and
premiered by the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, and Herma (1994-95), a concerto
for cello and string orchestra for William Conway and the Scottish Chamber
Orchestra. In October 1999 the next in this series, a viola concerto Ombra
commissioned by the Icelandic Broadcasting Corporation, was premiered in
Scotland by Lars Anders Tomter and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.
Although he admits to some major influences, his musical style is entirely original,
showing a sensitivity to line and colour, shape and texture, not surprising from a
composer who in 1969 performed one of his earliest compositions, Solitaire for
solo cello, surrounded by an exhibition of his own drawings and paintings. Such
involvement with the visual arts remains a key influence on Hallgrímsso's musical
style, and in 1996 he was commissioned by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra to
write Still Life (1996), in conjunction with a specially commissioned painting by
Craigie Aitchison. Aitchison's work is also an influence behind Hallgrímsso's
largest work to date, the orchestral piece Crucifixion (1997) commissioned by the
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as part of the Maxwell Davies Millennium
Programme of commissions.
Recently there have been two commissions from the Northlands Festival in
Scotland which have shown a growing interest in music theatre. Mini-Stories
(1997) for narrator and ensemble sets translated texts by the Russian absurdist
Daniil Kharms, and has since been taken up by the Caput Ensemble and the
Hebrides Ensemble. Its deft evocation of a unique world of humour, nonsense and
melancholy has been widely acclaimed by audiences and critics. In 1998 he wrote
Ears Stretch a Sensitive Sail which was premiered by Evelyn Glennie and the
Yggdrasil Quartet.
Kenneth Hesketh
Kenneth Hesketh was born in Liverpool in 1968. Whilst a
chorister at Liverpool Anglican Cathedral, he began
composing and completed his first work for orchestra at
the age of 13. By the time he commenced studies at the
Royal College of Music in London he had written much
orchestral music, and as a college student completed his
first formal commission for the Royal Liverpool
Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Charles Groves in 1988.
After receiving Bachelor and Postgraduate degrees from
the RCM, working in commercial music, and completing
several smaller commissions, Ken Hesketh attended Tanglewood in 1995 as the
Leonard Bernstein Fellow and studied with Henri Dutilleux. In 1996, whilst
completing a Masters degree in Composition at the University of Michigan, USA,
Kenneth Hesketh was awarded the Shakespeare Prize scholarship from the Toepfer
Foundation, Hamburg at the behest of Sir Simon Rattle, which included a year’s
residency in Berlin. With an award from the Liverpool Foundation for Sport and
the Arts, Hesketh returned to London from Berlin in 1999 as the Kit and Constant
Lambert Fellow at the Royal College of Music, with support from the Worshipful
Company of Musicians.
Kenneth Hesketh has received numerous commissions from international
ensembles and organisations including the Fromm Foundation at Harvard
University (Three Movements from "Theatrum"), the European City of Culture
(Copenhagen 1996), the Continuum Ensemble Torturous Instruments, a Faber
Millennium Commission for Simon Rattle and the Birmingham Contemporary
Music Group, the BBC Philharmonic (At God speeded summer’s end), Hans
Werner Henze and the Endymion Ensemble (in honour of Henze’s 75th birthday)
Netsuke, the Munich Biennale, and the Michael Vyner Trust for the London
Recent performances of Hesketh’s music have included the ASKO Ensemble
(Amsterdam), the Ensemble Zagros (Helsinki), the Holland Symfonia
(Amsterdam), the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music and a composer
portrait concert as part of the Munich Biennale. His debut at the BBC Proms, The
Circling Canopy of Night, was performed by the London Sinfonietta conducted by
Oliver Knussen in 2001. A festival of English music in Montreal in 2002 featured
many of Hesketh’s works, as well as lectures and presentations by the composer.
Hesketh is currently the Kettle’s Yard Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge
where his duties include composition tuition as well as various outreach projects.
He is also a lecturer in
composition and orchestration at the Royal College of Music. Hesketh’s most
recently completed London Sinfonietta commission, Polygon Window, is for the
Ether Festival at the Royal Festival Hall in March 2004 touring throughout the UK
The University of York Music Press
Sadie Harrison
Biography | Works | Discography
"A potent sense of instrumental colour, and very personal rhythmic vigour pervades
all of her output, but it is also characterised by an uncompromising intellectual and
constructional integrity. There are very few living composers with such a strong
aural signature; which sometimes can hit the listener between the eyes with the
same impact as Messiaen's 'purple' chords or the 'Byzantine' ferocity of late Tippett.
Sadie often plays dangerous games with this architectural-colouristic
interdependence; manipulating it, (much in the same way that Bach removes
anticipated resolutions and consonances) in order to heighten the narrative tension
of the structure." Peter Sheppard Skærved
"One of her gratifying qualities — not indispensable to a composer, but it helps —
is that she likes sound." So wrote Paul Griffiths of Sadie Harrison's Architechtonia
in The Times. A concern for the immediate sensory appeal of her materials is
certainly a salient feature of Harrison's style. In this respect, her work shows an
affinity with that of Pierre Boulez, a composer whose sound-world and
compositional technique have been sources of inspiration for her. However,
Harrison is representative of a generation of composers for whom neither the
numerological arcana of integral serialism, nor the deliberately repetitive strategies
of minimalism and other "post-modern" trends can provide satisfactory structural
Sadie Harrison was born in Adelaide, Australia in 1965. She graduated from the
University of Surrey and continued her doctoral studies with Nicola Lefanu at
King's College London. She has been awarded several prizes for her music
including the Joyce Dixey Award for Composition, the Hilda Margaret Watts and
Convocation Sesquicentennial Prizes for Music, and the Bernard Shorr ROSL
Prize. Performances of her works, many of them international, have been given by
Lontano (during her engagement as featured composer during 1988), London
Chamber Symphony, Music Projects/London, Ixion, Bournemouth Sinfonietta,
Gemini, also the Kreutzer Quartet, Double Image, Endymion Ensemble, Capricorn
and the Composers Ensemble. She was lecturer in music at Goldsmiths College,
London from 1993 — 2002.
Taking Flight, the CD of Sadie Harrison's music released on Metier in 2001,
received widespread acclaim: "Music of real individuality and purpose" HiFi News
and Record Review; "... an original imagination that expresses itself in a fluent,
thoughtfully poetic language." The Sunday Times. Her music has also been
recorded recently on Sargasso and Clarinet Classics with a second chamber music
CD of premiere recordings to be released by METIER in Spring 2002. Her music
has been broadcast in Eastern Europe, on several stations in Canada, in Japan, The
Netherlands and elsewhere.
Highlights of 2002 included 3 major world premieres: The Light Garden at
Carnegie Hall New York, The Fourteenth Terrace at the Purcell Room in London
(also broadcast on Radio 3) and Bavad khair baqi! in Munich. Quintet: No Title
Required was performed at the ISCM Festival in Hong Kong and Metier released a
recording including No Title Required, Three Expositions and After Colonna. Sadie
Harrison was Lecturer in Music at Goldsmiths College, London from 1993-2002
and now teaches composition at Bath Spa University. She has been commissioned
to write a book on Alexandr Skryabin for the Life and Times Series, Haus
Publications, and is preparing articles for MGG, Barenreiter Press.
Sadie Harrison's music is also represented by the Australian Music Center.
Biography | Works | Discography
David Matthews was born in London in 1943 and started composing at the age of sixteen. He read Classics at the University of Nottingham – which has also made him
Honorary Doctor of Music – and afterwards studied composition privately with Anthony Milner. He was also much helped by the advice and encouragement of Nichol
Maw. He spent three years as an assistant to Benjamin Britten at Aldeburgh in the late 1960’s. He has largely avoided teaching, but to support his composing career ha
editorial work – he collaborated with Deryck Cooke on the performing version of Mahler’s Tenth Symphony – and orchestrations of film music. He has also written a
the music of Michael Tippett, and has just completed a book on Britten which will be published in spring 2003. He published a lecture on the relation of music to paint
Landscape into Sound, and reviews for various journals. Matthews is Music Advisor to the English Chamber Orchestra and Artistic Director of the Deal Festival. His
widely played in Britain and abroad, is frequently broadcast, and over a dozen of his works are available on CD.
His musical language on the one hand grew out of his English background and his special concern for the music of Tippett, Britten and Maw; but it is also strongly conne
the central European tradition, back through Mahler and ultimately to Beethoven. Matthews has been much concerned with working in the great inherited forms of the
symphony, string quartet, lately oratorio – and finding new ways of renewing them. To date he has written five symphonies and ten string quartets; also four symphoni
– two of which; In the Dark Time and Chaconne, have recently been recorded by the BBC Symphony Orchestra for the NMC label. His numerous chamber works incl
commissions by the Schubert Ensemble, Nash Ensemble, Brodsky Quartet, Brindisi Quartet and many others; vocal music includes a dramatic scena, Cantiga, for sopra
orchestra, premiered at the 1988 Proms, and a large-scale Vespers for soloists, chorus and orchestra for the Huddersfield Choral Society. His recent large-scale work, C
in Azzurro is a cello concerto for Steven Isserlis and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and was premiered in October 2002 in Swansea with Richard Hickox.
January 2003
Christopher Lyndon-Gee was nominated for a Grammy in 1998 for "Best Orchestral Performance" for the ground-breaking complete works of Igor Markevi
(Marco Polo releases); while, in 2002, recordings for Naxos of 'Arcana' and other works by Edgard Varese with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orc
won rave notices worldwide, such as "musically, Christopher Lyndon-Gee blows Boulez away . . . extraordinarily communicative musicianship" from New
'Classics Today', and " race out to buy the astounding Lyndon-Gee version . . . able to make these elements cohere with a strength and conviction that
challenges the very best" from 'Repertoire', Paris. 'The Gramophone', 'Penguin Guide to Compact Discs', and 'Fanfare' have all given accolades to his w
and Australian critics' organisations named him "Artist of the Year" and "Best Opera Conductor", the latter for his conducting of the world premiere of La
Sitsky's 'The Golem' at Sydney Opera House.
Also a widely performed composer, Lyndon-Gee was honoured as Composer Laureate of the Onassis Foundation, Athens, in 2001, has won the Adolf
Spivakovsky Prize, the "Sounds Australian" Award (three times) and two MacDowell Fellowships in the USA. He is currently working on major orchestra
including 'The Auschwitz Poems' and 'Socrates' Death', the latter commissioned for premiere at Canterbury Cathedral, in his native England, in 2004. Du
2003, his setting of an ancient Greek Ode under the title 'The Temple of Athena Pronaea' was premiered in New York, and 'On the Theory of Cosmic St
the contemporary music festival in Odense, Denmark.
Lyndon-Gee studied under Arthur Hutchings and Rudolf Schwartz in Great Britain; Franco Ferrara and Goffredo Petrassi at the Conservatorio S.Cecilia, R
and Igor Markevitch at Monte Carlo. Hearing him conduct a student concert in Italy, Leonard Bernstein invited Lyndon-Gee to Tanglewood, where he me
Maderna, becoming the latter's assistant in Milan. Erich Leinsdorf and Maurice Abravanel were also influential on his work. He enjoyed a busy early care
pianist, specializing in contemporary repertoire; over two hundred new works were written specially for him. He and the prominent Italian composer Lore
Ferrero launched the contemporary music ensemble 'Fase Seconda' in Turin; Lyndon-Gee also founded the Oxford Sinfonietta, and was chief conducto
Telford Sinfonia, giving British premieres of composers as diverse as Boulez, Ligeti, Dallapiccola and Shapero, and commissioning and working closely
British composers like Oliver Knussen, Nicola LeFanu, Jonathan Lloyd, Anthony Powers and David Bedford. Today, his hectic freelance career takes him
regularly to orchestras in Germany, Italy, England, The Netherlands, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, the United States and several other count
serves also as Head of the Conducting School at New York's Adelphi University, combining this with constant travel.
Hans Werner Henze
Hans Werner Henze, am 1. Juli 1926 in Westfalen geboren, erhielt seine früheste musikalische
Ausbildung vor dem Hintergrund des aufkeimenden Nationalsozialismus in Deutschland; das
Erlebnis, dass gerade die moderne Musik, Kunst und Literatur, die ihn am nachhaltigsten
anregten, durch die Nationalsozialisten verfemt wurden, ließ in ihm den Glauben an das inhärent
subversive Potential der Kunst wachsen eine Tendenz, die dreißig Jahre später sein
kompositorisches Schaffen entscheidend prägen sollte.Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg setzte er
seine Studien bei Wolfgang Fortner fort und komponierte die ersten Werke (die er als
Bestandteil des Werkkatalogs anerkennt) in einem eleganten neo-klassizistischen Stil.
Anregungen durch Hindemith und Strawinsky sind spürbar, jedoch zeigt sich bereits deutlich die
lyrische Kraft, die Henzes Musik in allen Schaffensperioden auszeichnet. In den späten vierziger
Jahren kam Henze in Kontakt mit den Darmstädter Ferienkursen und dem Konzept des Serialismus. Es ist jedoch bezeichnend
für ihn, dass er sich nicht, wie viele seiner Zeitgenossen, von dieser Kompositionstechnik völlig vereinnahmen ließ, sondern sie
mit seinem neo-klassizistischen Stil verwob. Das Violinkonzert von 1947 ist das erste Beispiel dieser kompositorischen
Synthese, die sich auch in "Boulevard Solitude", seiner 1951 entstandenen ersten Oper, wiederfindet.
1953 verließ Henze Deutschland, um in Italien zu leben. Dieser Wechsel in einen anderen Kulturkreis verhalf seiner Musik zu
neuem Ausdrucksreichtum und neuer Farbigkeit. Die Oper "König Hirsch" (1953-56) und die in den nächsten zehn Jahren
entstandenen weiteren Opern - alle satellitengleich begleitet von einer Fülle weiterer Werke, die das Ergebnis stetig
anwachsender Kompositionsaufträge waren - sind Stationen der Aneignung der neuen expressiven Klangwelten. "Elegie für
junge Liebende" (1959-61) und "Die Bassariden" (1964/65), beide auf Libretti von W.H. Auden und Chester Kallman, gehören
ebenso in diese Periode wie die Kantaten "Novae de infinito laudes" (1962) und "Being Beauteous" (1963). Mit den
"Bassariden" erreichte Henze einen stilistischen Wendepunkt, und während der zweiten Hälfte der sechziger Jahre begann er
nach Wegen zu suchen, seine neuen musikalischen Interessen mit seinem zunehmenden Engagement für radikale politische
Ideen zu verknüpfen. In Kompositionen wie "Das Floß der Medusa" (1968), der "Sinfonia N. 6" (1969) und dem Rezital für
Bariton und vier Musiker "El Cimarrón" (1969/70) zeigt sich eine neue Schroffheit im musikalischen Gestus, ein
Zurückdrängen der lyrischen Mittel. In den frühen siebziger Jahren erreichte die musikalische Reflektion von Henzes
politischem Engagement mit der Vollendung des Liedzyklus "Voices - Stimmen" (1973) und den 1976 an der Covent Garden
Opera uraufgeführten Handlungen für Musik "We come to the River" (1974-76), auf ein Libretto von Edward Bond, ihren
In der Folge wandte sich Henze wieder verstärkt traditionelleren Formen zu. In den späten siebziger und frühen achtziger Jahren
entstanden drei Streichquartette und die Symphonie Nr. 7 (1983/84), so wie die Oper "The English Cat - Die englische Katze"
(1980-83) auf ein satirisches Libretto wiederum von Edward Bond. Mit dem 1990 uraufgeführten Musikdrama "Das verratene
Meer" (1986-89), nach dem Roman von Yukio Mishima kehrte er wieder zum durchkomponierten Opernstil der frühen
sechziger Jahre zurück. Allerdings verrät die Partitur deutliche Einflüsse der Arbeit an Monteverdis Oper "Il ritorno d'Ulisse in
patria", die Henze 1981 in einer freien Rekonstruktion bearbeitete. Anfang der neunziger Jahre wurde Henzes Schaffen von
der Arbeit am Requiem (1990-92) bestimmt, das dem Andenken an Michael Vyner, dem früheren Direktor der London
Sinfonietta, gewidmet ist. Diese Neun Geistlichen Konzerte für Klavier solo, konzertierende Trompete und großes
Kammerorchester wurden 1993 erstmals komplett aufgeführt, im Jahr der Uraufführung der Sinfonia N. 8 durch das Boston
Symphony Orchestra unter Leitung von Seiji Ozawa. Im Januar 1997 wurde "Venus und Adonis" an der Bayerischen
Staatsoper uraufgeführt, und im November des gleichen Jahres spielten die Berliner Philharmoniker unter Ingo Metzmacher
erstmals die Sinfonia N. 9.
1999 begann Henze die Arbeit an der Sinfonia N. 10, deren Uraufführung 2002 im Rahmen der Luzerner Festwochen durch Sir
Simon Rattle erfolgte.
Born in Westphalia in 1926, Henze received his earliest musical training against the background of the rise of Nazism in
Germany; his realisation that all the modernist music, art and literature that stimulated him most profoundly had been
condemned by the Nazis ingrained in him the belief in the potential of art to be genuinely subversive, inspiring a tendency that
was to surface explicitly in his work thirty years later. After the Second World War he resumed his formal education by
studying with Wolfgang Fortner, and composed the first pieces that he still acknowledges in an elegant neo-Classical style,
which mingled Stravinsky and Hindemith while already demonstrating the innate lyrical gift that has characterised Henze's
music in all its phases. In the late 1940s, however, he began to attend the Darmstadt summer schools and realised the value of
serialism. But, typically, he did not follow many of his contemporaries in embracing the technique to the exclusion of all else,
and instead fused it with his neo-Classical style. The Violin Concerto (1947) first put this synthesis into practice, and it served
also for his first opera, "Boulevard Solitude".
In 1953, Henze left Germany to live in Italy. The change of scenery brought a new richness and colour into his music, an
expressive world that was celebrated in the opera "King Stag" (1955), and, over the following ten years, in a sequence of operas
each with their attendant satellite works in response to a seemingly endless supply of commissions. "Elegy for Young Lovers"
(1961) and "The Bassarids" (1965), both to librettos by W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman, belong to this period, as do the
oratorio "Novae de infinito laudes" (1962) and the cantata "Being Beauteous" (1963). With "The Bassarids" Henze reached a
stylistic turning-point, and during the second half of the 1960s he began to look for ways of combining his new musical
interests with his increasing commitment to radical politics. Works such as "The Raft of the Medusa" (1968), the Sixth
Symphony (1969) and the "recital" for baritone and instruments "El Cimarrón" (1970), show his music becoming more angular,
and suppressing its lyrical style.The musical climax of Henze's explicit political engagement was reached in the early 1970s,
with the completion of the eclectic song-cycle. "Voices" (1973) and the "actions for music" "We Come to the River", to a text
by Edward Bond, first staged at Covent Garden in 1976.
In its aftermath Henze turned to more traditional forms, producing three string quartets as well as his Seventh Symphony in the
late 1970s and early 1980s; "The English Cat", again to a satirical libretto by Bond, was constructed as a "number opera" from
a sequence of traditional closed forms. But with "Das verratene Meer", after a novel by Yukio Mishima, first performed in
1990, he returned to the through-composed music dramas of the early 1960s, though the score also betrays the influence on his
work of Monteverdi's "Il ritorno d'Ulisse in patria", of which he made a sumptuous new realisation in 1981. In the early 1990s
Henze's work was dominated by the composition of an instrumental Requiem, dedicated to the memory of Michael Vyner, the
former director of the London Sinfonietta. These nine "spiritual concertos" were first performed complete in 1993, and that
year also saw the premiere of his Eighth Symphony with the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Seiji Ozawa. In
January 1997 the Bavarian State Opera gave the premiere of "Venus and Adonis", and in November of the same year the Berlin
Philharmonic introduced his Ninth Symphony conducted by Ingo Metzmacher.
In 1999, he composed his Tenth Symphony which has been given its world première at the Lucerne Festival (Switzerland) in
2002, by Sir Simon Rattle.
Paul Archbold
Paul Archbold was born near Peterlee in the North East of England in 1964, studied composition at the Royal
University of Durham.
His compositions have been performed by several of the leading exponents of contemporary music in the Un
the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and have been broadcast in Australia, Finland, Norway, Germany and
He has held lectureships at the universities of Huddersfield and Durham and has been active in promoting co
Wind-Up: chamber music by Paul Archbold and Fabrice Fitch, was issued on the METIER label to enthusia
Choice for 2000.
Recent works include: Arachne for clarinet and harp, Recoil for piano and tape, Impacts and Fractures for str