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On demand: Anna-Lena Laurin's Song of the Juniper

GSOplayRecorded at Gothenburg Concert Hall: Stora Salen, Gothenburg, Sweden
Online until Wednesday 31 July 2019
Laurin, Anna-Lena (b. 1962)Song of the Juniper
Gothenburg Symphony
Joana CarneiroConductor

Watch this commissioned piece by Anna-Lena Laurin, an experienced composer working in jazz and in the world of classical music. She was named composer of the year in 2013, and has also been awarded the Jazzkatten award.

Anna-Lena Laurin told Bachtrack about this piece:

“I grew up in the landscape of Halland in the south of Sweden right by the sea. A landscape rugged and acrid but also very beautiful. Here, the Juniper grows. Against all odds, the Juniper enlarges, breaks up through the hard earth and grows high and strong. As a child, I walked these heath acides every day. This environment shaped me and I still feel like coming home in this kind of landscapes.

When I got the commission from Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, I came to think of these landscapes again. And therefore it got the title Song of the Juniper. On paper, a work that revolves around juniper and nature could be quiet and idyllic. But I choose to mainly write about the dramatic potential of these landscapes even if it towards the end, also contains a quiet and icy passage, in a dialogue in between solo violin, harp and solo bassoon. I portray the life force of the tough shrub and the ability to withstand icy storm winds.

Many people use to say that my music is full of visual impressions. Meanwhile listening, a film rolls up and you're invited to an inner journey. That journey, I like that to be beautiful. And I believe so is the case even this time. One listener told me: “Leaves and twigs fly by, birds fight in headwinds, the wind pulls and tears in the trees”.

Song of the Juniper has many minimalist building blocks but it never stops in endless repetition, on the contrary. In my music there is always changes and developing. In the pulse, the patterns, in the sounds, the tonality, the chords. You may hear the same element expressed in totally different environments. Song of the Juniper also contains a “sound body”. Like a musical craft sailing forward in the concert hall in a slow but powerful motion. The instrumental solo passages wanders across different parts of the orchestra and the piece finish in a happy ending with a melancholy aura.”

Filmed in May 2019.

© Nadja Hallström
© Nadja Hallström
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