Ole Edvard Antonsen


Ole Edvard Antonsen toured Scottland with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and a brand new trumpet concerto: Akbank Bunka, February 9-12, 2005.

Ole Edvard Antonsen and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, under the baton of John Storgårds, toured Scottland with 4 concerts in Ayr, St.Andrews, Glasgow and Edinburgh from February 9-12. Antonsen performed J.Haydn's trumpet concerto with the cadenzas written for  him by K.Penderecki, and the world premiere of a new trumpet concerto  by Christian Lindberg called Akbank Bunka, which he has written  especially for Antonsen. The world premiere of Akbank Bunka was a tremendous success and the audiences were cheering and shouting long after the last note of the piece. Ole Edvard had to do encores. In Glasgow Antonsen also gave Masterclasses at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music.

The Herald, Feb 14th 2005
Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Queen's Hall, Edinburgh

What with an excellent programme, a world-class soloist, a great new work and with performances that were inspired throughout, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and conductor John Storgards didn't put a foot wrong in their Queen's Hall concert at the weekend.

The brilliantly ebullient performance of Prokofiev's Classical Symphony that opened the concert was followed, as the piece so often is, by Haydn. Not a counterpart symphony, however, but by the trumpet concerto, with soloist Ole Edvard Antonsen giving an impressively lyrical, burnished performance. Antonsen also performed a new work specially written for him and the SCO, the trumpet concerto Akbank Bunka by musical polymath Christian Lindberg - world-class trombone soloist turned conductor and composer.

It isn't often that the performance of a new piece of music elicits from the audience the kind of unrestrained enthusiastic response normally reserved for favourite works of repertoire, but Lindberg's concerto proved one such work, with its combination of lyricism, colour, loads of energy and ample opportunity for Antonsen to display his incredible virtuosity, all tightly packed into its concise three-movement, quarter-of-an-hour span. Often there is a discernible element of an orchestra feeling its way through a new work, but in the Queen's Hall on what was the concerto's fourth outing, the SCO and Antonsen gave a real, consummate performance, from the lyrical folksong-like opening to the exotic colours and textures of the middle movement and, particularly, the breathless jazz-inspired finale with its frantic walking bass and call-and-response passages between soloist and orchestra.
In the wake of such high-octane excitement, there was the danger that the quiet, mysterious opening of Beethoven's Fourth Symphony could have fallen rather flat. Instead, Storgards succeeded in transcending everything that had come before, drawing a performance from the SCO that repudiated the symphony's Cinderella status among Beethoven's output, and revealed with utmost clarity a work bursting with drama and spontaneity.


The Scotsman, Feb.10th 2005
Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Ayr Town Hall

SHARP shards of Scandinavian light lit up last night's programme by the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. In the limelight were the Finnish conductor John Storgards and trumpeter Ole Edvard Antonsen. They brought with them a new concerto by the Swedish all-rounder, Christian Lindberg.
Lindberg, now in his mid-forties, shot to fame as a virtuoso trombonist. Nowadays, he also conducts and composes.

His Concerto for Trumpet and Chamber Orchestra, commissioned by the SCO, entitled Akbank Bunka, has an enticing originality about it. His style is unpretentious, flitting between lilting modal lyricism, astringent dissonance, and even unadulterated jazz with the flirtatious unpredictability of a butterfly. Its three succinct movements focus wholly on the very special qualities of Antonsen's mind-boggling technique and golden lyrical tone.

Antonsen played his part with dazzling assurance and leadership. His presence dominated a performance that enjoyed great surges of passion. The music is almost filmic in its intensity and volatility. The sure-footedness of the solo writing is underpinned by orchestral writing that is quixotic, elusive, even cold at times. There are echoes of Carl Nielsen in the brittleness of the harmonies, though never in a derivative sense. No matter what references Lindberg slips in - quirky shades of orientalism or riotous explosions of jazz - the music maintains its strong sense of purpose.

That and Haydn's Trumpet Concerto - complete with dazzling, if slightly incongruous horn-accompanied cadenza by Penderecki - were the central showpieces in a programme that opened with Prokofiev's Classical Symphony and ended with Beethoven's Fourth.


The Guardian, February 12 2005
Lindberg premiere
Town Hall, Ayr

"The three-movement trumpet concerto, Akbank Bunka, was written for the Norwegian Ole Edvard Antonsen. It is certainly demanding, exploiting both Antonsen's technical agility and his ability to spin long cantabile lines on an instrument with which they are not usually associated... Akbank Bunka achieves its main aim, which is to place Antonsen's brilliance at the centre of attention; he even held his own against the punctuations of an orchestra that includes a drum kit, and playing in a resonant hall that had previously made Prokofiev's Classical Symphony sound more like Strauss's Alpine version."