Sæverud’s “Peer Gynt”

Grieghall Edvard Griegs plass 1, 5015 Bergen Thursday May 06 2021, 19:30

Thursday, May 6th at 19.30
Friday, May 7th at 19.30

“I hope my music has its future, I only have my past,” said Harald Sæverud when asked what he thought would last the longest – his music or the anecdotes about him. At the concert we get an insight into his musical universe.

After the war, Harald Sæverud was considered to be the doyen of Norwegian composers and he gained wide popularity for a number of his compositions. His Fifth Symphony is the first of the so-called ”War-symphonies”, written in 1941. The symphony is sub-titled ”Quasi una fantasia”, a title which invited the war-time audience to draw their own conclusions. After the war the real title was revealed: ”Symphony of Resistance”. It was first performed by the Bergen Philharmonic 6th March 1941 with the composer conducting.

Sæverud was asked to write incidental music to Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, and after first having declined to do it, he completed it in 1948. The music was commissioned by the Norwegian Theatre in Oslo, which wanted to create a deromanticised version of Peer Gynt. While Grieg’s music was romantic and evocative, it lacked satire, wit and irony. Sæverud’s interpretation was more spontaneous, raw and wild.

Conductor Ingar Bergby, has conducted the orchestra as a guest several times and was in the period 2003 to 2008 responsible for the orchestra’s Norwegian and Nordic repertoire. Bergby was a student of Karsten Andersen, chief conductor of Harmonien from 1964 to 1985, who from the 1960s was the foremost interpreter of Sæverud’s music, often with the composer himself who eagerly belongs on the first bench.

Henrik Ibsen’s deep and eternal drama and Sæverud’s music meet Jon Fosse’s precise and sharp language in this New Norwegian translation of «Peer Gynt».

“While working on these little tastings from Henrik Ibsen’s dramatic poem” Peer Gynt “, there is one thought that has struck me several times. Namely that Jon Fosse’s New Norwegian retelling does almost the same as Harald Sæverud’s music does.

Arranged in collaboration with Det Vestnorske Teateret

Harald Sæverud, photo: Roar Christiansen, Bergens Tidende.

Ingar Bergby, conductor
Directed by Bjarte Hjelmeland
Lars Berge, Peer Gynt
Reidun Melvær, Berge Solveig and Ingrid
Karoline Krüger, Mor Aase

Edvard Grieg Kor
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

Harald Sæverud
Symphony No. 5 “Quasi a Fantasy”

Harald Sæverud
Peer Gynt, stage concert performance
Text by Henrik Ibsen, in New Norwegian by Jon Fosse

Due to national rules, only the audience with an address in Bergen municipality can come to the concert.