for Violoncello, 12 Wood Winds & 4 French Horns
basso in Sib
Corno 1 in Fa
Corno 2 in Fa
Corno 3 in Fa
Corno 4 in Fa
Fair Isle is an
island in the middle of the great sea, situated between the Orkney and the
Shetland Isles. Friarey
was the name of the island in the old norse tongue and it appears e.g. in
the Orkney Saga.
Calling this piece of
music after the island should not be taken literally as a kind of
description of the area. But in fact the music was composed during a summer
on Fair Isle and for sure it carries along the delightful North
Atlantic mood which thrills you while living there. Isolation, solitude and
an overwhelming nature.
But Fair Isle is in
no way a seascape although it is painted with a broad brush and the presence
of nature is a constant in the piece. Maybe it might rather be dealing with
the idea of the loner versus the power of nature. In the piece the soloist
versus the big wind band. The two opposite forces are interacting and
challenging each other and there seems to be no winner in this struggle. The
fundamental mood of nature, weather, sea and sky is just as unavoidable as
the loner insisting on his own worth.
Hans-Henrik Nordstrm was born
in 1947. He was educated at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Nordstrm has
composed music since he was 13 years old, but it was first in 1988 that he
stepped forward as a composer at a workshop with the Esbjerg Ensemble. In
1990 he had his official professional debut at a DUT concert in Copenhagen
with the piece The Mountains of Monestis.
Since then he has made his mark as a composer and has
received numerous commissions and his works have been performed by leading
orchestras, ensembles and soloists. He has received working bursaries and
travel grants from the State Foundation for the Arts every year since 1990,
Hans Peter Nielsens Grant 1991 and Danish Composers Societys Grant 2001.
Since 1991 he has worked exclusively as a composer. He has
been the artistic leader of the Contemporary Music in Sus festivals since
1993. From 2000 manager of
Nordstrms works have been performed at numerous festivals,
concerts and in radio broadcasts both at home in Denmark and abroad.
In 1994 he made a working spent stay in the Faroe Islands, in
1995 to Britanny (Carnac), 1996 to Iceland, 1997 to Hirsholmene, 1998 to
Northern Norway, 1999 to The Hebrides, 2000 to the Faroe Islands (Mykines)
2001 to Ireland and 2002 on Fair Isle, Shetland.
Nordstrms works comprise primarily instrumental music:
pieces for orchestra, sinfonietta, ensembles and soloists. There are also
some vocal pieces. The music often takes its inspiration impressions from
nature, both at a local and a cosmic level, and from the literary world. In
other instances the pieces arise from pure musical ideas and structures.
It is often very emotive music, sometimes of a contemplative character,
which speaks not only the listeners intellect but also to his or her
emotions. In Nordstrms successive works a development can be perceived
from a relatively simple but expressive structure to more equivocal,
multi-layered and refined expressive forms. These are, however, still firmly
rooted in emotional aspects, where the music develops in more complex and
plastic directions. The music becomes more pulsating and variable in its
gestures while at the same time developing further a preference for delicate
work with timbre and the special characteristics of the individual
Hans-Henrik Nordstrms music is often described as being
markedly Nordic in its tonal quality. It is also true that the music owes
much to Nordic music and Nordic nature, a fact which is underlined by
Nordstrms annually recurring visits abroad, primarily to the North
Atlantic area. Here he searches for unspoiled nature, clear skies, primeval
fells, birds, wide open spaces, the simple life and loneliness.
Among his most important works from recent years the
following can be mentioned: String Quartet no 4 ("Hebridean" - "Bho Innse
Ghall"), Night Glow and Dawn Frosting (Soprano and guitar),
Mykines (chamber ensemble), Mouvements (Piano Trio), Land of
Shadows (Bassclarinet and percussion), Light (flute and guitar),
Fluctuations (Guitar Quartet), Chac (Organ), Lost Traces
(Saxophone and percussion), The Twelve Bens (String Trio), In
the Woods (violin and sinfonietta), Nada y todo (Recorder
quartet), Growth (Brass Quintet) and Fair Isle (vcl, 16 Wind
21 works has been published on CD, mainly in the portrait-CDs Hans-Henrik
Nordstrm 1, 2 & 3 and more portraits are to come in the following years.
Nordstrms works does also appear on other CD publications.