In his orchestral work Lyric Pieces, Ørjan Matre adapts Klokkeklang (Bell Ringing) and other lyric pieces by Edvard Grieg. In Modest Mussorgsky’s opera Boris Godunov, bells ring for the coronation of a new tsar. And Sergei Rachmaninov’s choral symphony The Bells is based on a poem by Edgar Allen Poe.
Over the last decade, Ørjan Matre (born 1979) has been awarded a number of prizes for his music, including the Spellemannprisen in 2018 for his Concerto for Orchestra, recorded by the Oslo Philharmonic and conducted by Peter Szilvay. Matre composed Lyric Pieces in 2019 for the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, which premiered the work that same year. It is based on six of Edvard Grieg’s Lyric Pieces for piano, including Sommerfugl (Butterfly) and Klokkeklang (Bell Ringing). In some cases, the original music is almost unchanged, whereas in others only certain structural or tonal ideas are retained.
Modest Mussorgsky (1839–1889) composed Boris Godunov, his only completed opera, between 1868 and 1873. It is based on historic events – Boris Godunov ruled Russia as its tsar in the years around 1600. The powerful Coronation scene, featuring a choir, soloists and the bells of the Kremlin, is one of the most spectacular highpoints in the history of opera.
In the summer of 1912, the young cello student Maria Danilova chanced upon a Russian translation of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem The Bells in Moscow. She felt that the poem virtually cried out to be set to music, and she knew just who should compose it. Danilova sent a copy of the poem anonymously to Sergei Rachmaninov. Rachmaninov liked the idea immediately, and decided to compose a choral symphony in four movements. The Bells was premiered in St Petersburg in 1913, and became Rachmaninov’s favourite of his own works. However, he never found out who sent him the letter ...
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