Sunleif Rasmussen – Symphony No. 2 – Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, John Storgards (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 53:03 minutes | 554 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: dacapo-records.dk | Booklet, Front Cover | © Dacapo Records
Recorded: Helsinki Music Centre, Concert Hall, 12 and 14 September 2015
In many ways Sunleif Rasmussen is a pan-Nordic composer. Born in the Faroe Islands in 1961, he has lived in Norway for a period, and today he shuttles between Copenhagen and his native islands. He also has a close association with Finland and Finnish musical life, among other ways through a close friendship of many years with the conductor and violinist John Storgårds; a musical friendship of which the present recording and the CDs Strings against Strings (2007) and Motion/Emotion (2013) are shining examples. Rasmussen speaks more than a handful of the related Nordic languages, and is a great believer in the shared Nordic identity nourished by the common linguistic basis.
His youth did not in fact point in the direction of a life as the absolutely most prominent Faroese composer. There was no musical training on the island of Sandoy when Sunleif Rasmussen was growing up. So he learned to read music from his grandmother. At the end of the 1970s he went to Norway to attend a music college outside Oslo, and it was there that he first heard a symphony orchestra play live – an overwhelming experience, among other reasons because the programme consisted of striking masterworks from the twentieth century: Le Sacre du printemps by Igor Stravinsky and Romeo and Juliet by Sergei Prokofiev. At the same time he drew great inspiration from the great jazz pianist of the time, Keith Jarrett, and the tenor saxophonist Jan Garbarek, and in fact it was as a jazz pianist – with a single CD on his conscience – that Sunleif Rasmussen developed musically in the 1980s. At that time he was back in the Faroe Islands, before moving to Copenhagen in 1988; the next year he began studying composition at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in the capital with Professor Ib Nørholm – and later electroacoustic music with Ivar Frounberg.
Shortly after his studies, in 1995-97, Sunleif Rasmussen wrote his best known work, the first symphony, Oceanic Days, for which he received the Nordic Council’s Music Prize as the first and so far the only Faroese to do so. Over the years he has also received grants from the Léonie Sonning Music Foundation and the Danish Arts Foundation, and in 2011, as the youngest recipient ever, he won the biggest culture prize of the Faroes, the Mentanarheiðursløn landsins. His music is played in most parts of the world.
In the works in the 1990s as today, Rasmussen found his inspiration in natural phenomena and Faroese melodies. In the 1990s these melodies were only present in the hidden composition work as a basis for serial and spectral principles – where notes and sounds are thoroughly and systematically organized. During the last decade, suggestions or imitations of Faroese folk melodies and rhythms have been far more dominant in his music.
Sunleif Rasmussen (b.1961)
Symphony No. 2 ‘The Earth Anew’ for solo soprano and baritone, male choir and large orchestra
1 I. Andantino espressivo e agitato 12:51
2 II. Lugubre e molto espressivo 10:11
3 III. Scherzo impromptu 9:26
4 IV. Maestoso furioso – Tranquillo e dolce 20:34
The Academic Male Voice Choir of Helsinki
Male Voice Choir Muntra Musikanter
Cyndia Sieden, soprano
Bo Skovhus, baritone
John Storgårds, conductor