Goldberg 2012

As you may know, our principal, Svein H. Giske is the composer of «Goldberg 2012», this years testpiece for the Norwegian Nationals.

We are very proud of him!

For those of us not playing the piece, it might be interesting to read the composers thaughts:

 

Goldberg 2012

The first time I heard Bach’s Goldberg Variations was in the movie Silence of the lambs, some time back in the early nineties. I noticed the beautiful background music in one of the scenes, but at that time I didn’t know what it was. A few years later, when I was studiying at the Grieg Academy, I got to know the entire piece. For me, this is a piece of music which I can listen to countless times. I think it sounds as fresh today as it did more than 15 years ago and it never ceases to inspire me.

Both Bach’s composition and Glenn Gould’s famous 1955 recording (which was the first one I heard) still makes a great impression on me. Before Gould recorded it at age 22, it wasn’t a highly ranked piece amongst pianists and Bach was by many viewed as a bit old-fashioned. The young Canadian turned all this around. He managed to portray Bach in a reformed way, producing fine nuances in phrasing and making the many layers in Bach’s music more transparent than anyone before him. Thus he plunged both himself and Bach (back) onto the international music scene.

When The Norwegian Band Federation (NMF) asked me to write the test piece for NM in 2012, it was only natural for me to use the Goldberg Variations as a starting point and inspiration for my work.

Since I was a teenager at NMF’s summer courses in the mid eighties I’ve always listened to many different styles of music. Growing up in Sunnmøre with the Brazz Brothers as teachers and  mentors, jazz-, pop/rock- and folk music were early on a natural part of my musical background. I also have my classical education from the Grieg Academy on trumpet. As the title of my piece implies, I’ve wanted to bring Bach to the present and put his music into various modern musical landscapes. I think you can bring about a special kind of energy when music from different genres are mixed and I’ve tried to do this by mixing Bach with artists and musical styles from the present.

In Goldberg 2012, the music is often constructed by several layers, which in a way are living parallel musical lives. They are seemingly moving or floating freely, almost unaware of each other, but bound together by the same basic pulse. The rythms, however, are often notated on a different rythmic subdivision level than the usual 8th- or 16th note levels.
By doing this, I hope to achieve transparent sounds that rythmically are perceived as more free and detached from each other.

In large sections of the piece, pop/jazz is fusioned with elements from Bach.
I guess you could have this little scene as a synopsis for the piece: picture a group of musicians meeting; some are classical performers, some are jazz. They start to improvise together, each in their own voice or musical dialect and I’m sort of in the middle, trying to write down what they are playing. This is what I feel much of Goldberg 2012 is about.

The foundation of the piece, in addition to Bach and references from pop/jazz music, lies also in my own material. This material, basically two chords, is heard in it’s purest form in the 1st movement.
I use these chords to create scales, new chords and different motifs which contribute to blend together the different moods of the piece.

It has not been my intention to copy Bach’s form (theme and 30 variations), but rather use the bits and pieces that I like the most as an inspiration for my own variations.

The 1st movement, Aria 2, is for my 3rd son, Olav, who was born on the 21st of April 2011,
and the 5th movement, From long ago, is dedicated to the memory of my father, Svein J. Giske, who passed away on the 6th of June 2011.

-Svein H. Giske, January 2012-

The different movements in Goldberg 2012 are:

I. Aria 2

II. Toccata

III. Aria 1

IV. Transmogrifying Bach

V. From long ago

VI. Rhapsody on Bach & Brecker

We´re looking foreward to listen to the performances!
Info in norwegian

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