He was inspired by film music, melancholy pop, 1980s MTV and by The Cure. The former choir boy and now critically acclaimed composer Kim André Arnesen develops this year’s festival theme Mammon in the opening concert in Nidaros Cathedral.
– This is melodious, tonal, contemporary classical music which hopefully still sounds original. I wanted to create something beautiful to remind us of the beauty which exists in the world, and which we must at all costs protect, says the 35-year-old.
With The Wound in the Water Trondheim’s young Grammy nominated talent has composed a work about the endless beauty of the earth, but also about its deep wounds. He has already produced a wide range of choral works in collaboration with the Welsh poet Euan Tait whose aim as a librettist is to “write words that are a powerful catalyst for music, with strong choral architecture, and which speak in the widest possible way for the spiritual longings of a very diverse society”.
– Euan and I have explored the festival theme Mammon from three different angles, Arnesen explains.
Mammon divides us and makes us lose ourselves in the pursuit of money and profit. We become separated from each other because our capacity to love one another is damaged and we are driven by competition. But the living planet, our home, is also damaged in this process.
– As a result of Mammon, people are forced to flee from their homes, and to live in exile. Throughout The Wound in the Water individuals try to find a solution, a way to reclaim those important values which enable us to live together.
Arnesen started as a soprano in Nidaros Cathedral choir where he was introduced to everything from Mozart to hymns. As teenagers he and his friends listened to choral music at parties, and gradually he too started composing. He received his education at the conservatory in Trondheim and has already made his mark internationally in his genre. His Magnificat was nominated for a Grammy award.
For this year’s opening concert, Arnesen has with him the very best.
– Conspirare is a choir which has made a name for itself in the US and has been accredited with several Grammy nominations, also this year. No style is beyond them and we share the same values, those that we try to present in this work. This is a choir that people in Trondheim deserve to experience, he says.
Arnesen’s Magnificat has been Grammy nominated:
He has a top team at the opening of this year’s festival.
Elin Manahan Thomas performs mostly baroque, and sings with the voice of an angel, according to Arnesen.
– Her voice is light and clear as a bell, not so very romantic or operatic. When I hear her I think that that’s how angels must sound in heaven. With The Trondheim Soloists (Trondheimssolistene) this is a very strong team with international appeal. It is incredibly exciting, he says.
Here is Elin Manahan Thomas at the opening ceremony of the Paralympics: