2020v2 Program Theme
We’re living in strange times, and one of the most difficult things to relate to is unpredictability. The level of risk, which steps must be taken or called off, where and when. An odd mix of forced necessity and breezy experimentation. But that our lives have been turned upside down, is for certain.
Individually and within families; grandparents unable to spend time with grandchildren. In society nationally and globally, on a human and economic level. One of the most counterintuitive precautions is that we must demonstrate togetherness by distancing; chew on that.
With Fjord Classics having to recast its programme on a fundamental level due to travel restrictions between countries and directives concerning minimum distances for performers and public, we’re taking the opportunity to give our audience something we have extra need of at the moment: That which is close, heartfelt, warm, familiar.
We have turned to the Romantic Period: Brahms, Schumann and our own Grieg. Whereas musical and spiritual life of earlier times had man’s relationship with God and fate as an important theme, it’s the relationship of human beings with each other that becomes the essential feature of the 1800s.
One of the most counterintuitive precautions is that we must demonstrate togetherness by distancing; chew on that.
Some outstanding examples of bubbling, passionate, powerful and rapturous emotions form the pillar of this year’s programme: Grieg’s great string quartet, Brahms’ and Schumann’s piano quintets. As well as Mozart’s brilliant string trio entitled Divertimento. Communicative angels in jovial-serious discourse, hovering between Heaven and Earth. Schubert’s song cycle Winter Journey displays the painful facets of the Romantic Period; love and loss, near has become far. Those who heard Yngve Søberg perform the cycle in Sandefjord church last year will not forget it. We have chosen to repeat it, as a perfect completion to this year’s programme, for the satisfaction of those who were unable to attend last time and for those who were there who wish re-experience it.
We have had to confine ourselves within the country’s borders when it comes to musicians, but in today’s Norway this by no means involves a compromise of level; we are blessed in having a multitude of top international musicians right here! As well as Yngve Søberg we have secured the presence of the outstanding soprano Berit Norbakken. At the piano we’re fortunate enough to be joined by the eminent Håvard Gimse as well as young Marina Kan Selvik, who is the only artist from the original programme on the bill. Henning Kraggerud and Guro Kleven Hagen are brilliant violinists, with the whole world as their stage, Norway their homeland. Cellist Sandra Lied Haga has taken part in Fjord Classics previously and is now just on the threshold of an international career with her fantastic CD-recording of Dvorák’s Cello Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme; key reference works where the international press has already placed her among the very best. It must be said that she has been internationally active and recognized for a number of years already, despite her young age.
This year we had planned to launch our youthful chamber orchestra Fjord Festival Strings, but this must now be postponed until next year. But here we’re also talking about great talent on an individual level which is guaranteed to delight and impress. They’ll be presented in smaller chamber music groups at lunchtime concerts at The Note Café and Music Bar which is just moving into brand-new premises. Something to really look forward to!
Throughout these last months a lot of creativity has been demonstrated in the way music has been shared, with performances from balconies and streaming of concerts, some spontaneous, others more technologically involved and planned. With the Fjord Classics festival this summer we’ve chosen a slightly different angle. We know we’re able to organize concerts, currently for up to 200, space permitting. We’ll be engaging a film team to film the concerts; these will be high-quality and costly productions. Thank you to all the contributors who have allowed us to reallocate our resources in this way! Alongside the concert productions we want to document the festival atmosphere, musicians and audience, the surroundings and not least these strange times we’re living through.
Right now, we have need of beauty and depth, perhaps more than quick solutions.
We welcome you to rich and outstanding listening experiences in Sandefjord!
Lars Anders Tomter and Camilla Kjøll