"Enthusiastically recommended." Fanfare
"One of the standout contemporary music releases of 2006." ClassicsToday.com; "Ein höchst individueller Reflex auf Ole Bulls verschollen geglaubtes A-Dur-Violinkonzert, hier brillant vorgetragen von Peter Herresthal." Fono Forum; "Le jeu de Peter Herresthal est tout simplement inouï" Classica-Répertoire; “Herresthal ... glisse avec virtuosité et gourmandise d'un univers stylistique à l'autre." Diapason
&&&For a number of years Olav Anton Thommessen (b.1946) has been a colourful and dynamic player in the musical life of Norway. Born into a family of diplomats, from an early age he encountered influences from the most varied of cultures. Most important was his stay in the USA in the late 1960s, when he studied at Indiana University. His encounter there with Iannis Xenakis had a decisive impact on him.
In the 1980s, as part of a strategy of communication with the public, Thommessen began to use the history of music as a musical warehouse. In the same way that nationalistic composers had utilized folk music, Thommessen envisaged the heritage of classical music as a supply-room of musical building components. A characteristic work from this period is the Macrofantasy over Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor from 1981, which is part of the evening-length cycle A Glass Bead Game. This consists of six independent compositions: Prologue, Macrofantasy for piano and orchestra, Beyond Neon for horn and orchestra, Choral Symphony over Beethoven’s Eighth, Through a Prism for cello, organ and orchestra and Encore over Verdi’s Dies Iræ – Apotheosis. The 1980s also saw the creation of a number of chamber music works, as well as other orchestral works and concertos. Many of these, such as EingeBACHt for piano and the opera Hertuginnen dør (The Duchess Dies), with its expressive incorporation and use of the madrigals of Carlo Gesualdo da Venosa, are excellent examples of how Thommessen developed his technique of quotations towards the violin concerto BULL’s eye.
Thommessen’s work-list consists of more than 100 opus numbers, and has brought him prestigious awards and distinctions, including the 1990 Nordic Council Music Prize.