Five elements

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World premiere of the elements of nature.

Listen to composer Torstein Aagaard-Nilsens thougths about the piece.

The four classical elements from ancient Greece – fire, earth, air and water – along with a fifth element – wood – from Chinese philosophy, are the basis of this concert in Håkonshallen.

Five elements is a work commissioned by Edvard Grieg Kor to be premiered at the 2021 Bergen International Festival. It is composed by Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen, who is based in the west of Norway, to words by Malin Kjelsrud. Having grown up close to the ocean on the Lofoten islands, the composer is not unfamiliar with the elements of nature as a source of inspiration.

The rest of the programme is also related to the five elements, encompassing 17th century madrigals by Claudio Monteverdi and Heinrich Schütz and music by contemporary American composers Caroline Shaw, David Lang and Frank Ticheli.

In the madrigals the elements are often metaphors for the transience of love, but in this concert there is also music depicting the destruction of paradise. David Lang’s work By Fire, which is rarely performed, combines an interview with an unnamed CIA analyst about a nuclear test on a Pacific atoll with an excerpt from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War on the use of fire.

Edvard Grieg Kor is ensemble in residence at Troldhaugen, the home of Edvard Grieg. The choir has achieved status as a leading eight-member a cappella ensemble. International recognition of the choir includes a Grammy nomination in 2017.

Håkonshallen