The Shadows of Silence (West Coast premiere)
Danish composer Bent Sørensen was born in 1958 and received his musical education from Per Nørgård and Ib Nørholm, among others. A composer with a fine ear for timbre and texture, he won the Music Prize of the Nordic Council in 1995. His important works include the violin concerto Sterbende Gärten; Minnewater, The Echoing Garden for soloists, choir and orchestra; four string quartets; the trombone concerto Birds and Bells; and a symphony. Many of these have been recorded for Dacapo records.
"The medium of the string quartet allowed Sørensen to find his way to a personal musical idiom, an idiom that refers to something that once existed but does not anymore," according to Sørensen's publisher. "The composer plays on our understanding of time and our collective memory trail.... He wants floating atmospheres in which musical expressions can point in different directions."
The composer has provided the following note about The Shadows of Silence (2003-04):
Quite some time ago I heard - through a conversation on a mobile phone - a wonderful concert of ringing church bells from a European capital. I found it very hard to concentrate on the conversation because I was so engrossed by that chaotic world of bell sounds. The night after, I dreamt that the sound of those low singing bells was rising up from a piano in a huge empty concert hall. That experience became the starting point for my piano piece, The Shadows of Silence. But before the piece gets to the ringing bells it moves through a landscape of shadows - "Shadows of the silence before the bells," "Silence before the storm," "Shadows of melodies" - which all the time leave traces, even in the short passages of storm. After the passage with the low ringing bells, the "Shadows of silence" returns melted into a lament, which sends two regards: the first to two small beautiful - not very well known - bars by Mozart, and the second to the sextet in my own opera, Under the Sky.
The Shadows of Silence was commissioned by the Carnegie Hall Corporation and is dedicated to Leif Ove Andsnes.