Innerspace was commissioned by the Gothenburg orchestra Gothia Concentus for their science fiction-themed project and will be premiered in concert conducted by Emanuel Kling on May 12, 2018. The orchestra is known for their inventive programs which combine a lot of film and videogame music with classical pieces. For their sci-fi concert, I had an idea to create a new piece that would work as a stand-alone concert piece while also working in the largely cinematic context of the program. Obviously inspired by the film of the same title, Innerspace, is an adventurous and fun piece which is very much a love letter to many of the sci-fi film composers we all love and admire. While I have written music for orchestra before, those pieces have been primarily choral in nature. Innerspace is my first all-orchestral piece – and, needless to say, I’m really excited!
Author Archives: mikaelcarlsson
Here is the recording from the premiere performance of my setting of the Christmas gospel, Julevangeliet for SATB, reciter and string quartet. This was performed by Hedvig Eriksson (soprano), Amanda Flodin (alto), Mikael Englund (tenor) and Karl Peter Eriksson (bass) together with the Wulfson Quartet, conducted by Ulrike Heider and with myself reading underscored scripture at the Haga Church, Göteborg, on December 22. The 45 minute 12-movement work was commissioned by the Church of Sweden and was inspired by the traditional English Nine Lessons and Carols.
I have spent an intense month of November writing a setting of “The Christmas Gospel” (Julevangeliet) which will be premiered at the Haga Church, Göteborg, on December 22. Commissioned by the Church of Sweden for its celebration of Christmas, this is a 12 movement suite written in the swedish and latin languages for string quartet, SATB soloists (or choir) and reciter.
The form is inspired by the traditional English Nine Lessons and Carols, expanding the traditional Swedish reading of ‘The Christmas Gospel’ (Luke 2:1-20) into a longer, approximately 40 minute work with underscored scripture readings combined with four part motets. Those are new settings of O magnum mysterium, Lux in tenebris, Det är en ros utsprungen (an arrangement of the Swedish version of A Spotless Rose), Ave Maria, In natali domini and Hodie Christus natus est. Only a couple of these are a cappella – the string quartet is providing the foundation for this work either underscoring the recitation, accompanying the singers or performing their “own” material either as thematic statements or as interludes.
While I have written a lot of choral music, this is a first – and humble! – attempt at composing for string quartet. I am excited that the Wulfson Quartet is going to perform the work for the first time, together with four excellent singers: Hedvig Eriksson (soprano), Amanda Flodin (alto), Mikael Englund (tenor) and Karl Peter Eriksson (bass). Ulrike Heider is the music director and I will do all of the readings myself.
So grateful for the opportunity to write this piece, which provided an opportunity for me to go back to my roots and interest in musical storytelling. Fingers crossed the music, and the performance, will evoke some of the magic of the magnum mysterium of Christmas!
With humble gratitude I am happy to announce that my Requiem, which was premiered in November last year, will receive its second performance in the Haga Church of Gothenburg on October 13, 2017. Due to public demand, the Haga Motettkör, pianist Svetlana Beliakovskaia, a string orchestra under the leadership of Lars Kvensler, all conducted by Ulrike Heider, will perform the work in a concert taking place during the popular culture event Kulturnatta. The premiere of the work was a powerful experience, one which affected me as a composer in a profound way. When you write, you are always striving to create an honest and intimate emotional connection to both performers and the audience – and the Requiem really did that. I can’t wait to hear it again, and I hope that it will make a difference once again!
As a concert producer specializing in the film music repertoire, I have been working quite a bit with Gothia Concentus, which is possibly the largest amateur symphony orchestra in Sweden. They do great concerts with a mix of film, video game and classical music. As a little gift to them for their 2017 season, I wrote a new fanfare to open their concerts. Of course, it’s based on the two pitches G and C! Enjoy!
I am pleased to announce that the wonderful Helsingborgs Vokalensemble will premiere my setting of The Lord Is My Shepherd in competition during the international choral festival ‘Canta en primavera’ in Málaga, Spain, on April 27, 2017. The women’s choir and its director Marianne Ivarsson commissioned the eight part piece and will perform it for the first time in their program which also features a new piece by David Basden. Good luck to the choir!
How do you write a Requiem in the year of 2016? After much thinking and procrastination, I realized that for me, there could only be one honest answer to that question, having received a commission to write such a composition in this time of turmoil and human suffering as we experience the most severe migration crisis in Europe, where families are torn apart following war and terror in their native countries. I could not write this piece without taking all of that into consideration, living in an extremely wealthy country that first welcomed everyone in need of our help, then suddenly shut the door on them.
I have chosen to set my Requiem to the classical mass text, incorporating the Gregorian melodies, but also giving the different movements a sub-title to create a parallell narrative telling the story of a refugee family. While the piece reflects my own faith and sometimes the ambiguity that comes with it, it is also possible for the listener to imagine the story of this family, torn apart in war and terror, through prayer (Kyrie), hope (Sanctus) and sacrifice (Agnus dei) on a journey towards reunion (Lux aeterna). Parts of the work, which was written for string orchestra, piano and voices, features double choir, where one choir sings exclusively minor harmony and the other only major, perhaps conveying my own ambivalence towards the subject of death.
The Requiem was commissioned by the Swedish Church’s congregation of Haga, Göteborg, and will be premiered by the Haga Motettkör, musicians from the Gothenburg Opera Orchestra and pianist Svetlana Beliakovskaia under the direction of Ulrike Heider in Haga Church on November 5. The artwork for this project was created by Anders Nyberg.
Here is a video of the premiere performance of my ‘Alleluia’ featuring the joined forces of Haga Motettkör and Caritas Chamber Choir of Canterbury, conducted by Benedict Preece. It was a very rewarding to perform this piece with both choirs, and we also had the luxury to have the piece performed in the fantastic Canterbury Cathedral, which could only be described as a true honour! Thanks to conductors Ulrike Heider and Benedict Preece for making this idea becoming a real success!
Johannebergs Vokalensemble, conducted by Jan K. Delemark and with Björn Johansson on piano, premiered by ‘Three Shakespeare Nocturnes’ on April 17, as part of the choir’s concert tribute to the bard, “If Music Be the Food of Love… William Shakespeare 1564-1616”. Above is a recording of the premiere performance!