Concert: The Rainbow and Britten 

Sunday, 13 March, 13:00: We continue our journey through Benjamin Britten’s music, this time in a contrasting programme where a dark, sorrowful song-cycle meets newfound love and a belief in the future. 

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The baritone Magnus I. Kjelstad will perform the songs, accompanied by Christian Grøvlen on piano. Christian Grøvlen will start off the concert with an introduction of Britten's song cycle and will explore the dark seriousness of it.

Benjamin Britten was one of the greatest composers of the previous century. With the song-cycle Songs and Proverbs of William Blake, Britten explores a bottomless darkness, confronting both himself and the listener with all the evils of the world. The selection of texts for the cycle was done by the tenor Peter Pears, who was Britten’s life partner and muse. Their relationship has many similarities with Nina and Edvard Grieg’s personal and artistic relationship.

Christian Grøvlen composed the four-vocalist song-cycle Regnbuen (“The Rainbow”), with texts by the Norwegian writer André Bjerke (1918–85), on the occasion of the Bjerke centennial in 2018. This time the cycle will for the first time be performed by a single vocalist, Magnus I. Kjelstad. 

Regnbuen explores human yearning as well as the notion that “everyone is alone”, as Bjerke himself wrote in the first poem of the cycle. Grøvlen composed the cycle after he had fallen in love with his future husband. “The work celebrates the many faces of love,” Grøvlen says. 

About the artists 
Magnus I. Kjelstad is currently a soloist apprentice at the Norwegian Opera and Ballet and an in demand concert singer.
Christian Grøvlen is the director of KODE’s Composer Homes and is an active musician and composer. 

Year of Queer Culture 2022 
During the Year of Queer Culture, KODE will explore music made by norm-breaking composers over the centuries. Several of the foremost classical composers in history were also queer. Many of them lived in a constant state of emotional turmoil and in many cases kept their orientation hidden. It is easy to imagine that these burdens influenced the music they wrote.

Program 
Magnus I. Kjelstad, baryton 
Christian Grøvlen, piano 
Concert in Troldsalen at 13:00 

Benjamin Britten (1913-1976): Songs and proverbs by William Blake 
- "Proverb 1" 
- "London" 
- "Proverb 2" 
- "The Chimney Sweeper" 
- "Proverb 3" 
- "A Poison Tree" 
- "Proverb 4" 
- "The Tyger" 
- "Proverb 5" 
- "The Fly" 
- "Proverb 6" 
- "Ah! Sun-flower" 
- "Proverb 7" 
- "Every Night and Every Morn" 

Christian Grøvlen (1990): Regnbuen (Tekst: André Bjerke) 
- Mot regnbuen (preludium)   
 - Berceuse   
 - Spørre-regle   
 - På jorden et sted   
 - Snemannen   
 - Under regnbuen (interludium)   
 - Jomfru   
 - Alvene   
 - Tornerose   
 - Når bokstavene gifter seg   
 - Ved regnbuens ende (postludium) 

 

 

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