Since Dec 30th, 2015, I am composing a Symphony. I have written some other works in the genre, more or less finished, and have therefore decided to call it No. 3. It is not commissioned, and I have so far no idea when it could be performed. My ambition is to finish the score within the year of 2016, and now, in late October, that seems possible.
The symphony is in five movements, but there is just one pause, between the second and third. The first is the longest, about 33 minutes. The duration of the whole work is approximately 80 minutes.
Instrumentation: 2 flutes (2nd with Piccolo), 2 oboes (2nd with English Horn), 2 clarinets (2nd) with Bass Clarinet), 2 Bassoons, 2 Horns, 2 Trumpets, Trombone, Bass Trombone, Timpani, 2 Percussion players, and strings (minimum 8-8-6-6-4).
I present the work-in-progress at my SOUNDCLOUD PAGE. There you can find simulations of different versions of most of the movements of the work.
Score examples will be able soon.
Because of a feeling of necessity. It is for me the ultimate way of express myself. Opera is great, too, and I definitely want to explore that genre as well. For me writing a Symphony is to build a world with a richness of expressions, abstract purely musical meanings, without a story or written out message.
You could call it something else, for example Work for Orchestra, but I chose to follow the tradition. Fo me, a symphony is a long work for orchestra, with deep content, in the line of the symphonies by Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, Sjostakovitj, and Pettersson, among other. It is not a coincident which names I drop, and I am aware that it could be seen as a political statement. They are all male composers, often seen as geniuses put on pedestals (except for the case of Allan Pettersson, so far). For me, however, they are humans, that did their best to express many aspects of humanity, and the essence of the music is there to discover, whether it is seen as genial or not.
The length and scale itself is important. It is an inner journey, and it needs time. Of course it is not about counting minutes, but about which moods and changes the listener experience. The length is important not least because the listener needs to make a bigger choice to invest time; one hour of concentrated uninterupted listening is more than most people ususally do.
Writing a symphony, a lot of them, but one at the time, is among the most meaningful things I can imagine to do. Hopefully the music will reach people and touch them seriously. It is no rush, I want it to last; I prefer good performances than too soon performances.
Fo me personally it is of course a great challenge to compose such grand-scale works. It takes long time and much effort, and there are lot of moments of doubt. Will it work? Is it worth all the struggle?
Besides of my earlier attempts in the symphony genre, I have written some long pieces of chamber music. Most notable is my Symphony for two violins, which of course is a symphony, but not an orchestra work. Chamber music pieces are a bit easier to get performed, so I will continue writing such works as well. But I have realised that all the colours and the dynamic range of the orchestra is something I really can make use of, in order to express myself as fully as possible.