The Shadow performed for more than 5000 schoolchildren in Oslo
Wednesday to Friday last week, Danish composer John Frandsen's 35-minute choral and orchestral work The Shadow was performed for more than 5000 schoolchildren at six sold-out concerts in Oslo. The concert series came to a conclusion Friday evening with a performance at the Philharmonic Hall.
By awk - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 18 April 2005
An anti-fairytale for children!
The symphonic work was commissioned by Symphonic Fairytales / The Society for Publication of Danish Music. The Oslo Philharmonic, conducted by Johannes Gustavsson and with Anne Marit Jacobsen as narrator, performed the world premiere on 13 April.
The work, which adopts lyrics by Hans Christian Andersen extensively adapted by Ivar Gjørup, is one of ten new works by Danish composers commissioned by Symphonic Fairytales. The Shadow is the seventh work to world premiere since the project was opened by Symphony Orchestra Basel in Switzerland on 27 February this year with the world premiere of Morten Olsen and Danish author T.S. Høeg's The Little Match Girl and Other Fairytales - an orchestra cartoon.
About The Shadow
John Frandsen states on his symphonic work: "It is a very moral work," and continues "we have used entirely new lyrics to create a modern Andersen paraphrase. We interpret Andersen's lyrics as representing a split between true humane existence and the distorted, stereotypical version offered by the media. People today are far more preoccupied with their own mirror image than who they really are. It's seen as more important to be a star for an evening than to be real throughout a whole life. The longer we live, the longer our shadow trails behind us, and under the influence of the media, modern people are increasingly likely to draw their identity from this shadow."
Read more about the symphonic work at www.symphonicfairytales.com
Collaboration with one of Europe's most ambitious orchestras
The Oslo Philharmonic is a rising star among Europe's symphonic orchestras which with its newly appointed music director Morten Waldehaug and coming principal conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste nurtures high ambitions. "It is an immensely competent and professional orchestra which has devoted itself wholeheartedly to the project," says John Frandsen. "It has been a positive experience from beginning to end. It is courageous of an orchestra to schedule a work of these dimensions with such a demanding and costly production with dancers, soloists and chorus. They have handled it formidably. The production has been under way for a whole year, but despite the huge undertaking there has been no hint of panic, everything has worked perfectly."
Music director Bengt Årstad has followed the project close hand and at the world premiere he stated: "I was impressed that such a complex project was made to work and that the audience, the schoolchildren, took the performance and the music to their heart with great respect and concentration."
Breakthrough for Danish orchestral music internationally
Since the Symphonic Fairytales project premiered in Basel on 27 February this year new works have been performed by Svend Hvidtfelt Nielsen, Per Nørgård, Morten Olsen, Sven Erik Werner, Fuzzy, Jesper Koch and most recently John Frandsen. The performances have taken place at as different locations as Hanoi, Basel, Reykjavik, Oslo, Flensburg, Madrid, Birmingham and Odense. Later this year, world premieres of additional new works will be performed in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Helsingborg, and in Asia and South America.
Symphonic Fairytales has been a breakthrough for new Danish orchestral music on the international stage. Never before have world premieres of so many new Danish orchestral works been performed around the world, and according to Ms. Else Torp, project manager of Symphonic Fairytales, building on these new ties offers great opportunities: "This is a unique chance for a Danish repertoire to establish itself with orchestras the world over - and not least to forge local collaborations between orchestras, schools, academies and narrators - and to extend an invitation to the other arts. The works offer enormous visual potential. We seek to inspire orchestras to develop their staging, and we are currently working on developing new works in association with the orchestras."
John Frandsen has been nominated in the Best Opera category at the Danish stage performance awards (Robert) for his current marathon opera, the trilogy Vice and Virtue in the Middletime.
Project manager, Symphonic Fairytales, Else Torp: +45 27 11 54 45 ().
Director of the Society for the Publication of Danish Music, Klaus Ib Jørgensen: +45 26 73 54 45 ().
Composer John Frandsen: +45 26 87 62 26 ().
Symphonic Fairytales has been developed by the Society for Publication of Danish Music and is sponsored by the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation, the Danish Ministry of Cultural Affairs, the Danish Arts Council, and the Danish Composer's Society. The project includes ten new Danish orchestral works which are premiered in 2005 by mainly international symphony orchestras. The budget is approx. DKK 3.5 million.