Solis Overture
electric guitar, piano, violin, violoncello, percussion and electronics

Performed by Wild Rumpus

Though atypical in many ways, this piece is in fact an overture for my upcoming opera, titled Pedr Solis. For one thing, it will probably never be heard in front of the opera as the instrumentation is quite different. It was also written before the opera, and thus acts as more of a sketch pad than a summation of primary themes. The material types and the melodic fragment toward the end of this piece do play key roles in the larger work however, which had been under development for some time when the overture was composed.

The opera chronicles the fictionalized tale of an actual Norwegian author, Pedr Solis, whose work was best known in Scandinavia during the 60s and 70s. Solis wrote only two novels, the most famous of which is Stillaset, published in 1970. It is perhaps the most extreme example of literary modernism to emerge from Norway, and, as with many of his writings, takes literary modernism itself on as a subtext. A third, still unpublished novel was apparently well underway when Solis disappeared from the public eye. Many speculate that he isolated himself in the far north of Norway, though this was never officially confirmed. The libretto for the opera, by Paul Schick, draws upon this account of Solis’ life, as well as von Hofmannsthal's play The Tower.

The melodic fragment heard toward the end of the overture in the strings is a modified version of a traditional Finnish song reminiscent of a joik, the traditional song form of the Sami people of northern Scandinavia. The song is Kuu kulta kivestä nousit as performed by Me Naiset. Regarding the electronics, though all the instruments are amplified their sound receives no further processing. The piece does include electronic sounds though, all of which are pre-recorded and played back by laptop onstage.

This piece is dedicated to Wild Rumpus.