Henrik Hellstenius: Public Behaviour (concerto for solo percussion, six voices & orchestra)

HKKS has commissioned a new concerto of Henrik Hellstenius. The last concerto – Readings of Mr.G – set the tone for their musical relationship merging theatre and music into a form of music theatre extraordinaire! This time Hellstenius will take it a step further by inviting the Nordic Voices – the Norwegian vocal-sextet – as co-soloists, as well as a video artist.

The gestalt of the concerto is about how we behave together in a hyper-individualized time. The American sociologist Richard Sennett believes that our time is characterized by the late capitalism that, rather than building character, is failing in our abilities to collaborate and solve tasks in a community. In this so-called “flexible capitalism” the loyal worker is a moron who does not take care of his own interests. Disloyalty and scepticism apply to both parties, so it is rather difficult to cultivate faithfulness as a virtue. Our individualized and narcissistic culture has some of its strongest expressions in the individual’s public conduct. The most striking right now may be the populist state leaders around the world, who take the untrained, immature and self-occupied five-year-old behaviour into the public space.

The work will compose different musical situations in which the soloist, vocal essay, video and orchestra portrays meetings and conflicts around the thematic individual versus collective and behaviour in the collective space. It is thought of as a change between music-related situations and more commentary musical and textual parts, almost like arias and corals in a cantata. The material is infinite and alluring, and it carries the potential for both the small and the very big stories.


November 2022 in Stavanger, Norway

Hans-Kristian Kjos Sørensen, percussion solo / voice

Nordic Voices & Stavanger Symphony Orchestra

Public Behaviour is financially supported by