ROLF WALLIN (b.1957): Act for Orchestra, Das war schön! for Percussion and Orchestra (Martin Grubinger [percussion]), Tides for Percussion and Orchestra (Kroumata Percussion Ensemble), Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra; Jaap van Zweden (Act), John Axelrod (Das war), Jukka-Pekka Saraste (Tides).
Catalogue Number: 09L100
Reference: ODE 1118-2
Description: Act is an extravagantly virtuosic showpiece, a hard-driven toccata, propelled by pounding rhythms using the full resources of a large orchestra, exemplifying, in the composer's words, the orchestra's capacity 'to act together as one enormous, resounding organism'. Das war schön pays tribute to Mozart in various oblique ways ( also to Messiaen along the way; two movements are based on transcribed birdsong, analyzed to provide melodic material). Deriving musical material from the detailed examination of complex patterns - such as fractal geometry or harmonic analysis - is typical of Wallin's compositional technique, following these processes with a high degree of imaginative freedom, and retaining an harmonic language that at least provides tonal referents and centers, thus ensuring a remarkable level of approachability. And scintillating humor, readily apparent in this piece. Tides is a kind of concerto grosso, in which the form of the piece is in the form of precisely calculated 'waves', superimposed on three 'tides'. The six percussionists dictate this form in appropriately fluid washes of sound, some entirely unpitched, others richly sonorous; the orchestra adds body and texture to the percussion group's flowing forms.