Thommessen, Olav Anton

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Thommessen, Olav Anton

Thommessen, Olav Anton, imaginative Norwegian composer and teacher; b. Oslo, May 16, 1946. He studied composition with Bernhard Heiden at the Ind. Univ. School of Music in Bloomington (B.M., 1969), where he also attended the lectures of Xenakis; continued his training in Warsaw, and then pursued studies in electronic music with Werner Kaegi and Otto Laske at the Instituut voor Sonologie at the Univ. of Utrecht. In 1973 he joined the faculty of the Norwegian State Academy of Music in Oslo. In his compositions, he utilizes Western and non-Western elements in a contemporary style mainly within the tonal tradition.


dramatic: Hermaphroditen (The Hermaphrodite), chamber opera comprising the following 6 Works: Det Hemmelige Evangeliet (The Secret Gospel; Bergen, May 24, 1976), Hermaphroditen (1975; Vadstena, Sweden, July 28, 1976), Et Konsert-Kammer (A Concert- Chamber; 1971; Warsaw, Feb. 6, 1972), Ekko av et ekko (Echo of an Echo; Malmö, Oct. 26, 1980), Gjensidig (Mutually; 1973; Luleå, Sweden, July 4, 1974), and Overtonen (The Overtone; Bergen, May 31, 1977); Melologer og Monodramaer (Wordless Chamber Opera; Vadstena, July 20, 1982); Hertuginnen dr (The Duchess Dies), chamber opera (1987); incidental music. ORCH .: Vårlosning (Thaw; Bloomington, Ind., May 8, 1969); Opp-Ned (Up-Down; 1972-73; Oslo, March 23, 1973); Stabsarabesk (1974; orchestrated by A. Bukkvoll as Barbaresk, 1974-77; Trondheim, March 24, 1977); Et Glassperlespill (A Glass Bead Game), comprising the following 6 Works: Pedagogisk Ouverture (Pedagogical Overture) for Narrator and Strings (1979-80; Oslo, Feb. 13, 1981), Makrofantasi over Griegs a-moll Konsert (Macrofantasy on Grieg’s A-minor Concerto; 1980; Bergen, Jan. 14, 1982), Hinsides neon (Beyond Neon), post-commercial sound sculptures for Horn and Orch. (1981; Minneapolis, Sept. 22, 1982), Korsymfoni over Beethoven Åttende for Chorus and Orch. (1980), Gjennom prisme (Through a Prism), double concerto for Cello, Organ, and Orch. (1984; Norwegian Radio, Jan. 1989), and Ekstranummer over Verdis Dies Irae: Apotheose (Encore on Verdi’s Dies Irae: Apotheosis) for Chorus and Orch. (1979-80); Fra Oven (From Above), concerto for Synthesizer and Orch. (1986; Stavanger, Sept. 16, 1987); Trus-selen mot lyset (The Threat Toward the Light; 1986); The Great Attractor,“cadenza accompagnata” for Violin and Orch. (Oslo, Aug. 4, 1988); The 2nd Creation, orch. drama for Trumpet and Orch. (Oslo, Sept. 15, 1988); Music for a Futurist Feature for Symphonic Band (1990); 2 Instrumental Madrigals, sinfonietta (1990-91); Cassation 1, sinfonietta (1994); A Film Scene (1997-98); Bulls Eye: A Symphonic Wrapping for Ole Bull (1998); Through Reflection—Thought Through (1999). CHAMBER : Violin Sonata (1966); Duo Sonata for Cello and Piano (1968); 2 string quartets (1969, 1970); Kvadratspill I (1972) and ÍÍ (1974) for 4 Percussionists; Stanza for Clarinet (1975); S 15 for Vihuela, Renaissance Lute or Guitar, Alto Guitar, and Small Percussion (1976); Nok en til (Yet Another) for Woodwind Quintet (1977); Vennligst godta min hrsel (Please Accept My Ears) for Violin and Piano (1981); Blokkfuglen (The Block-bird) for Alto or Tenor Recorder (1981); Scherzofonia/Scherzofrenia for Violin, Cello, and Piano (Bergen, March 6, 1982); Gratias Agimus for Trumpet and Piano (1983); Minia-Teks-Tur for Tuba and Percussion (1985); Rhapsodia improvizata for 2 Cellos (1985); Smaragd tavlen (The Emerald Tablet) for 2 Pianos and 2 Percussion (1985); L’Éclat approchant for Piano, Harpsichord, and Synthesizer (1986); Tibil for Organ and Synthesizer (1986); Piano Sonata (1986); Bellow-Canto for 2 Accordions (1989); The Phantom of Light for Cello and 2 Woodwind Quintets (1990); Étude-Cadenza for Cello (1994); Cassation 2 for Saxophone (1995); The Uncovering of Slowness: A Paragraph on a Texture for Chamber Ensemble (1996-97); Sarabanda Smorzata for Violin and Cello (1999). VOCAL : Maldoror/Hunhaien for 2 Vocal Actors and 4 Percussionists (1974); Stabat Mater speciosa for Chorus (1977); Elfuglen (The Electric Bird) for Soprano and Electronics (1980); Sjelen, LyttendeEn gnostisk kantate (The Ears of the Mind—A Gnostic Cantata) for Soprano, Reciter, 2 Cellos, Double Bass, Organ, and 2 Percussion (1984); Gratias agimus for Soprano and Piano (1988); Woven in Stems, symphonic song for Soprano and Strings (1991); Near the Comet Head, orch. drama for Viola, Alto, Women’s Chorus, and Orch. (1993-94).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Thommessen, Olav Anton

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