The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra commissioned and premiered the work ‘Low Jive’ by Jon Øivind Ness in 2008, and now they release a portrait of this fascinating composer, whose music is powerful and symphonic with references to popular culture, post punk and Zappa. Allowing the intensity and rhythmical drive of popular music to fuse with the structures and multi-layer thinking of art music, Ness creates music which is pulsating and refined. The result is a rare, unpredictable beauty.
Mad Cap Tootling is a violin concerto written for Peter Herresthal, a violinist among the leading interpreters of contemporary music in Europe today. The political title of the piece depicts FORMER president George W. Bush and his behaviour prior to the Iraq invasion. Another prominent performer is Øystein Birkeland, to whom Ness wrote Wet Blubber Soup – the title is a play on words from a Godley and Creme remix. In this piece, Ness himself remixes the contrasting elements of the concerto.
Low Jive for full orchestra and the duo Gust both share a mesmerizing dark atmosphere. In the latter piece for viola and double bass, Ness creates a disturbing gloom where flashes of icy light only occasionally brake through. The whole orchestra is on stage again for the Low Jive in grand, unhurried and vigorous movements – like a monumental dance in the depths. The title is derived from Slowdive, a song by 80s band Siouxie and the Banshees.
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.