Omgivelser & Portando
Kåre Kolberg (b.1936) is one of Norway’s foremost contemporary composers and is regarded as one of the pioneers of early electronic music and multi-disciplinarity art in Scandinavia. He has composed music for film, theatre and chamber orchestras to jazz acts such as Svein Finnerud Trio and Jan Garbarek.
Kolberg’s Omgivelser (Surroundings) was a commissioned piece made for the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) in 1970. It was made as a soundtrack for a short TV-film of the same name that was made by director Jan Horne. The idea was to melt abstract film impressions that showcased different sides of the environmental debate of the 1970s, together with experimental electronic music in order to create a singular expression. Kolberg travelled to the famous Studio Eksperymentalne in Warsaw, run by Jósef Patowski, to record the music. Together with sound engineer Bohdan Mazurek Kolberg crafted the piece using the studio’s vast sound archives and two pre-recorded tapes that he had brought from Norway. One tape consisted of different sound recordings Kolberg had made with experimental jazz singer Karin Krog and the other contained different field recordings by Kolberg, including a Norwegian nursery rhymes sung by Kolberg’s eldest son. In the studio they processed this material with ring modulators and filters, and added different modified instruments created by an engineer at the studio. The piece was recorded using what were at the time the Rolls Royce of tape machines: two Telefunken Magnetophon M10s. The piece was originally broadcast to Norwegian homes in 1970. Since the standard TV-volume levels are set so low, the dynamic range of Kolberg’s music was not optimal. Kolberg kept the original master tape and over the years Omgivelser was presented several times at different electronic music concerts.
Portando, (meaning to transport or carry in Italian) was a commissioned piece for the Henie Onstad Art Centre in 1987. The centre’s music coordinator at that time, Åse Hedstrøm asked Kolberg to write the piece especially for the art centre. Kolberg worked together with the studio founder and sound-engineer Mats Claesson using Norway’s first micro-processors and Mac based Studio Technology. The piece is written for electronic tapes and two live percussionists, which were played by Bjørn Rabben and Einar Fjævoll.