In some of his last pieces, Henrik Hellstenius has been working on “readings” of favourite composers’ works, or fragments of works. The percussion concerto Readings of Mr.G, which was played at the Ultima Festival last year with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and Hans Kristan Kjos Sørensen as the soloist, was a “reading” of a work by the French composer Gérard Grisey. Ombra Della Sera is a “reading” or “painting” of parts and fragments of works by the Italian composer Luigi Nono. Nono has long been a great inspirator for Hellstenius, both as a composer and as musical “thinking”. His music thinks as much as it blows, it seeks, investigates and is by no means unambiguous and clear.
Audun Strype (producer), Henrik Hellstenius (partly covered), Dan Styffe, HKKS
One of Nono’s clearest goals is to compose a music that has no goal, but rather searches and asks what it may be. With this artistic vision, Nono composes time in a new way, in a way we have not heard before. The music is “in” time, but it is also out of time because it does not point to the goals it makes or reflects on points it has laid behind. It’s always here and now.
When Henrik Hellstenius “reads” Nono in this work, it is to compose on something he has given us, such as painting on previous motives or writing on literary projects. Fragments of Nono’s time series, audio objects and dramatic contrasts are the basis for further interpretation, colouring and exploration. Exploration of areas Nono would not go, but where Hellstenius is looking for potential roads. The music moves for a slow time and in a sound landscape. Much of the movements are suggestive and the title tries to capture this.
Ombra Della Sera (The Shadow of the Evening) is a sculpture dating back to about 200 BC in the Etruscan Museum of the Tuscan town of Volterra. The sculpture portrays a young man who is extremely tall and thin, not different from the sculptures of Alberto Giacometti. Due to its extreme dimensions, the archaeologists who found the sculpture of the 18th century doubted what it really was a depiction of, a suggestion was that it was by the shadow of a human being, as it falls in the evening, hence the title.