Music that has no boundaries, it simply is what we want, when we want it. The concert Flekaskil opened with the extraordinary Mar by the Icelandic composer Kjartan Ólafsson. This piece takes you to places that you would never dare to imagine. However, the beginning did not “wow” me particularly, it was indeed exactly what I expected to hear whilst going to a modern classical concert with the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. But still, there is something that grabs your attention throughout the piece.
Some sort of string of curiosity and fear leads you through. Shortly after, we are greatly rewarded for our curiosity when steady, almost African sounding drums take us on a journey through the jungle into a tribal beat, and one can’t help but move to the rhythm of the drums that palpates throughout your body. And when you are just about to get a sense of direction, there is this intensely dramatic switch one would never expect from this piece. Suddenly, a grand piano, played by Mathias Halvorsen, pierces through the orchestra with a beautiful classical sonata theme and these two complete opposites continue to alternate throughout till the end. Enchanted by the pure randomness and playfulness of the piece itself and the instruments selection for it, in the intermission, I bumped into the composer himself and asked him why he decided to include the grand piano and drums in his otherwise quite traditional symphonic classical modern piece. “This is a fantasia”, Kjartan Ólafsson answered, “so you do not know what is supposed to come next. Whatever came to my mind was next. And when I was in the middle of the piece, I thought, here is supposed to be a piano.”