In 2013, a call went out from the Norwegian Ministry of Culture asking all publicly funded cultural institutions in Norway to celebrate the upcoming 200th anniversary of the Norwegian constitution, with particular relevance to the concept of cultural diversity.
The assignment was given to Norwegian composer Gisle Kverndokk. Premiered in 2015, ”Symphonic Dances” includes music from many countries. The melodies are woven into a coherent, but very diverse musical narrative, alternately touching, reflective, groovy, and fun. The piece is full of longing and celebration and reflects the reality of Norway’s culturally diverse society.
“Symphonic Dances” by Gisle Kverndokk has 5 movements:
I “The Sorrow of Loneliness” Melodies from Afghanistan, Kurdistan and Venezuela.
II “Waltz” Melodies from Madagascar, Norwegian, Sweden and China.
III “Songs about the Sea” Melodies from Greece, China and Iran.
IV “Dance in the Night” Melodies from Kurdistan, Poland and Venezuela.
V “Weddings and Funerals” Melodies from Madagascar, Sweden, and Cuba.
Conductor Ken-David Masur serves as the Associate Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra as well as the Principal Guest Conductor of the Munich Symphony.
The 2018 World Premier Recording of Kverndokk’s “Symphonic Dances” was recorded on location in Stavanger, Norway, in the SSO’s Konserthus by multiple Grammy Award-winning engineer, Jim Anderson. Ulrike Schwarz, who has been responsible for many Grammy nominated productions, produced. The recording was mixed at Skywalker Sound in northern California and mastered by Robert C. (Bob) Ludwig of Gateway Mastering, Portland, Maine. “Symphonic Dances” is available on vinyl, CD, streaming, and on BluRay in Surround and Immersive formats.