3 May 2017
Ahead of Nordic Nights (Bergen 2 June, London 6 June) we've gathered together a playlist of fresh Nordic sounds, and caught up with composer Eivind Buene, ahead of our premiere of his new work Sea Change. Part of our Cue the New: How to Listen to the 21st Century online resources.
STEP 1: HOW TO SET THE SCENE
In celebration of the enormous breadth of contemporary music that has emerged from Scandanavia, we've compiled this eclectic playlist from Björk and Sigur Ros to leading contemporary classical composers Kaija Saariaho and Johann Johannsson.
STEP 2: HOW TO BREAK THE ICE
We caught up with composer Eivind Buene to talk about his brand new work Sea Change, as well as his greatest artistic achievement, big influences and favourite musical works.
1. What was your inspiration for Sea Change?
I don't know if I would call it an inspiration, but 2016 was a year of changes, both in politics and in my personal life. Sea Change was also my first piece of music after having published my third novel – and I was very happy to return to music. So it carries a sense of both belonging and loss. I started working on the piece in Venice, and I guess the sense of light, decay and water is reflected in the music.
2. What do you regard as your greatest artistic achievement?
Good question. I've been making a living of writing my music for 20 years now. To me, that's an achievement. To be able to work, every day, in my studio, with things that interest me deeply. But it's difficult to pinpoint any one work or performance. My 5th solo album is about to be published, I'm also happy with that – having made so much music available on recordings with really good performers.
3. Describe yourself in three words.
A happy camper.
4. How would you describe your compositional style?
I'm interested in so many different sound worlds and musics, so I guess my style is that I don't really have a trademark style. I like it when things collide – simplicity with complexity, quietude with loudness, melancholia with ecstasy.
5. Which piece of music has had the biggest effect on you?
Impossible to name one work. A short and non-exhaustive list would look like this:
Mahler's Second Symphony
Ferneyhough's La Chute d'Icare
Couperin's Leçons de Ténebrès
6. What was the first recording you ever bought?
My parents gave me a lot of Beatles recordings when I was a kid (successfully managing to divert my interest away from Kiss at the tender age of 7…) But the first cassette I bought with my own money must have been something with Eurythmics – or maybe it was the Police, Synchronicity.
7. If you could have any other profession, what would it be?
Simple Question. Architect.
8. Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
The authors I read at any one time. Philip Roth, David Foster Wallace, Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf. Right now I'm reading the diaries of Swedish playwright Lars Norén. I find it totally absorbing, and it has a profound impact on my life. Next month I'll read something else, and the answer will be different.
STEP 3: HOW TO LISTEN
Download our latest visual Music Map produced by composer Deborah Pritchard to guide you through the complex violin concerto Graal théâtre by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho.
STEP 4: HOW TO COMPOSE
Composer Rolf Wallin and bassist Ida Nielsen discuss Rolf's new work, and the excitement of working together across different genres.
Footage courtesy of the Bergen International Festival