Kasberg Evensen, Bernt


Kasberg Evensen, Bernt

Vedo la Luce for Violin and Piano (score & violin part / first print)


Bernt Kasberg Evensen
(b. Tønsberg, 2 February 1944)

Vedo la Luce for Violin and Piano

Bernt Kasberg Evensen is essentially self-taught as a composer. He has travelled widely and has lived and worked in several countries in the course of his life: Mexico, Scotland, Germany and, of course, Norway. Evensen has, by and large, lived a life of service, always putting the welfare of others (family, friends and associates) before any concern for his own success. His years in Scotland established his competence and passion for working with the disabled and with psychiatric patients, as well as his close association to the Camphill and Anthroposophist philosophy and community, which continues to this day. Evensen is also an excellent baritone singer and has performed extensively as such. He is almost certainly the only singer to have performed Franz Schubert’s “Winterreise” and Allan Pettersson’s “Barfotasånger” side by side. A recent, very moving performance of the latter (from November 2014) can be enjoyed on YouTube. All the same, he knew that composition was his true vocation from a very early age. The Norwegian Music Information data base lists over 100 works by Evensen in many genres: symphonic, chamber, vocal, stage music, music for children…

For many years Evensen worked closely with the School Concert Department of the Norwegian Concert Institute (Rikskonsertene). This prompted him to compose several musical fairytales, which he performed at schools throughout Norway between 1976 and 1988. His concert music includes some of the most fascinating material written by any composer in Norway. Evensen has a very personal and unique tonal language. He has a keen awareness of the intrinsic tension of intervals and, although his music is often harmonically and contrapuntally complex, rare is the composition where he does not include one or several unison passages where intervals are allowed to stand starkly, creating a dramatic play of tension and release. Since the 1980s Evensen has experimented with scales derived from the writings of theosophist Anny von Lange. He has also used twelve-tone techniques in a free, personal way. Ravel has remained a favourite composer through Evensen’s life, an influence the essence of which he has assimilated into his music without ever resorting to idle imitation

Vedo la Luce was written in 1993 for the violinist Ørnulf Boye Hansen (b. 1933), in celebration of his 40th anniversary as a professional musician. About the title (I See the Light) the composer says “it must not be misunderstood, but taken for what it is: the conviction that there is light on the other side”. Evensen also points out that “I see the light” (“jag ser ljuset” in the original) are also the final words in Astrid Lindgren’s children’s novel “Bröderna Lejonhjärta” (Brothers Lionheart).
Evensen is known for the intricacy of his tonal language, often characterized by dissonance and complex counterpoint. Vedo la Luce is, therefore, exceptional in its almost ascetic beauty, its repose and the sparseness of its textures. Although unrest does creep into the music (in measures 67-79 and particularly in mm. 93-101) the overall effect is one of quiet meditation and acceptance.
Although no pedal indications are given in the score, other than “poco ped.” in measure 11, it is understood that the pianist will make discreet use of the pedal throughout the piece. The composer wishes, particularly, that a new pedal be used for each of the iterations of the arpeggiated harmony that first appears in measure 21.
The present edition is, by and large, a direct engraving of Evensen’s extremely tidy manuscript, with only very few added occasional cautionary accidentals not worth mentioning.

The work was premiered in 1993 at Oslo’s Gamle Logen by Ørnulf Boye Hansen and Knut Johannesen on hammerklavier. The concert was broadcast on Norwegian National Radio.
The work can also be played with modern piano, as is the case with the performance available on YouTube, given by the pianist Martha Berit Belt and this writer during a four-day festival in November 2014 hosted by Bergen’s Grieg Academy in celebration of the composer’s 70th birthday.

Ricardo Odriozola 10 September 2017

Score No.

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