ROLF WALLIN (b.1957): Fisher King for Trumpet and Orchestra, Id for Large Orchestra, Manyworlds for Large Orchestra.
Catalogue Number: 06Q087
Reference: ODE 167-2D
Description: Wallin has long been fascinated by the complex patterns of fractal geometry and their reflection in natural processes and structures of subatomic to macroscopic scale; these preoccupations turn up time and time again in his music. Only one of these imposing sound-sculptural works is explicitly 'about' these extraordinary artifacts of modern mathematics, but the concept of infinitely multiplying patterns and layers of ever-expanding detail clearly underlies all three. Fisher King consists of tumultuous parallel levels of crystalline texture, organically merging and folding into one another, often with a clearly defined rhythmic sense of geometrical patterning. Structured according to convention (after a fashion), the central 'slow movement' consists of mysterious gliding textures, and monolithic blocks of sound, reflecting the strange confluence between the mysteries of the modern universe and the dark legend that gives the piece its title. Id was Wallin's first orchestral piece, written when the composer was emerging from a tragic episode in his life, sublimated through the concept of an infinite universe in all its multiplicity of unfathomable yet perceptible order, human belief systems and the natural world. Early as it is (1982), it remarkably demonstrates the mature composer's processes and imagery; the sense of constantly shifting perspectives, of hurtling through vast spaces, of forces too great for comprehension. Manyworlds directly addresses the arcane concepts of multiple dimensions and the bizarre ramifications of modern physics' description of the structure of matter and time. Beginning with a kind of chaotic, inchoate 'big bang', the work then organizes itself into restlessly evolving strands and planes of orchestral texture, vividly suggesting a journey through the infinite levels of structure of a complex geometrical figure without beginning or end. The music's visceral vitality and unyielding momentum, and a powerful, though unconventional, sense of attraction to tonal harmonies renders it a good deal less abstract and more approachable than might be assumed, given its underlying philosophical concerns. A bonus Blu-ray disc contains an impressive fractal animation by video artist Boya Bøckman, designed to accompany Manyworlds in performance. Håkan Hardenberger (trumpet), Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra; John Storgårds.