Beyond the River God

- scenes from Paris

Nordlyst Festivalen 2017

Berit Norbakken Solset, soprano Hanne-Sofie Akselsen, transverse fløyte Øivind Nussle, baroque violin
Varpu Haavisto, viola da gamba
Assi Karttunen, harpsichord
Solmund Nystabakk, theorbo

We invite our audience along on a journey through the magical islands of Greek mythology, via Moses and the crossing of the Red Sea, to Paris then and now, with water and music as our guidelines. Through the music of Élisabeth Jacquet de La Guerre (1665-1729), Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767) and our own contemporary composers like Graham Lynch and Matthew Whittal we will hear the resonance of French 18th century, performed on historical instruments.

River God Le Nil

Northern Norway + Finland = sweet baroque music

In this concert, musicians from northern Norway and Finland meet: star soprano Berit Norbakken Solset, born in Finnsnes, now lives in Tromsø, as does lute player Solmund Nystabakk from Salten and flautist Hanne-Sofie Akselsen from Vesterålen. From Narvik comes baroque violinist Øivind Nussle. Varpu Haavisto and Assi Karttunen are both graduates from the Sibelius Academy of music in Helsinki, Finland. Today, Varpu lives in Tampere, while Assi teaches harpsichord at the Early Music department of the Sibelius Academy of music.

Female prodigy
Paris, early 18th century: Èlisabeth Jaquet de la Guerre, a musician, harpsichordist and composer born and raised into a family of musicians and instrument makers was early encouraged to develop her skills as a musician and composer, and she was one of few contemporaries who wrote music not only for her own instrument, but also for larger ensembles. Her only opera, Céphale et Procris, premiered in 1694 and was the first French opera to be written by a woman. As a married woman she was no longer allowed to work at the royal court, instead she arranged concerts in her own home, which attracted the finest musicians and music lovers of her time. We will perform two of her cantatas: Le passage de la mer Rouge (The crossing of the Red Sea) and L'isle de Delos, a pastorale description of the Greek island of Delos with all its nymphs, gods and magical creatures.

Baroque instruments then and now

Assi Karttunen and Varpu Haavisto have worked many years to have contemporary composers writing new music for their baroque instruments. The title of our concerts is borrowed from a piece for solo harpsichord written by British composer Graham Lynch. Beyond the River God (2013) is inspired by the giant river god statues in Jardin des Tuileries in Paris, and the piece is recorded by Assi on the CD bearing the same title in 2015.