BEYOND THE DOWNWARD DROOPS – BENT SØRENSEN IN TRONDHEIM
Gislinge tapped the pained beauty of this music in a way it was hard to imagine any other pianist getting close to.
Beethoven and roller coasters
Later in the week Gislinge arrived at Sigrid’s little tune via its cameo appearance in the sixth and ninth movements of Sørensen’s set of twelve Nocturnes (2000-14). All over these pieces is the concept of familiar ideas being crushed by heavy pianism or rendered intangible and transparent by light, delicate pianism (the Nocturnes cover pretty much the whole pitch range of the piano). But in the version of Sigrid’s Lullaby that pops up as the set’s ninth movement, you hear every strand of melody, harmony and accompaniment. We did in Gislinge’s performance, anyway.
Beethoven’s finale sounded every bit as neo-Gothic under Gislinge’s fingers as Sørensen’s Nocturnes are on paper.
This late-night concert was the purest and most revealing I saw all week, a programming masterstroke in its placing of the two sets of six Nocturnes (the first set written for Andsnes, the second for Gislinge) either side of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Sørensen himself turned pages, and his face was often a picture. Beethoven’s finale sounded every bit as neo-Gothic under Gislinge’s fingers as Sørensen’s Nocturnes are on paper. The counterpoint that wraps up his final movement Und die Sonne geht auf is as calligraphic and sophisticated as anything he has written. The fourth Nocturne Barcarola is a fascinating example of the composer doing his ‘fragmentary’ thing but in the context of perpetual motion. It is, effectively, a cascade of notes: motifs appear momentarily like images reflected on the surface of a waterfall. Gislinge tapped the pained beauty of this music in a way it was hard to imagine any other pianist getting close to.