Author Topic: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?  (Read 8047 times)

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Offline Dundonnell

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Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« on: September 17, 2011, 11:13:15 AM »
Norway is not nearly as effective in spreading the word about their composers as the other Northern and Baltic countries. This is partly at least because Norway does not appear to have record companies to match BIS in Sweden, Ondine in Finland or Dacapo in Denmark(to name some examples).

A contemporary Norwegian who has much impressed me and whose music is very much to my personal taste is Halvor Haug whose sixtieth birthday will be next year.

I called him a 'Norwegian Robert Simpson' in the thread title partly with tongue in cheek. He did however study under Simpson in London and the English composer was a great admirer of Haug's work. Haug is sometimes described as a 'neo-romantic' but this is by no means the whole picture. His music does have that distinctively Northern sound-a seriousness of purpose, often quite grim and menacing but also often sad, reflective and even despairing. He clearly loves his native country, its landscape, scenery and the natural world and reflects on and regrets what he perceives to be the damage man can do to the environment.

Haug has written five symphonies, of which there are cd versions of Nos. 1, 2 and 3.
Symphony No.1 dates from 1981-82 and earned very high praise from Robert Simpson. It would appeal very much to anyone who is tuned to Simpson's wavelength.
Symphony No.3 "The Inscrutable Life"(1991-93) incorporates the taped song of a nightingale towards the close of the work.
Symphony No.4(2001) and Symphony No.5(2002) are both one-movement works. They were apparently on a Warner/Chappell promotional cd but I have had no access to it :(

The other orchestral works of Haug which I have heard are however equally impressive-

the Sinfonietta(1983)..which is really just a short symphony and is certainly by no means a 'light' piece
the early Symphonic Picture of 1976 and the 'Poema Patetica'
the marvellously evocative "Silence for Strings" of 1977
"Song of the Pines' for String Orchestra(1987) which reflects the composer's sadness at the destruction of a pine forest
and 'Insignia', a Symphonic Vision for Chamber Orchestra(1993), influenced by Haug's visit to the Lofoten Islands

More about Halvor Haug-

http://www.ballade.no/mic.nsf/doc/art2002101119365043956511

No, Haug is not a Norwegian Rautavaara. His music is a good deal more 'modern' sounding but it is not inaccessible in the slightest. He is a modern composer still putting faith in symphonic orchestral music. I suppose you might compare him to Kalevi Aho in Finland....except that BIS have almost 'adopted' Aho.

It is such a pity that such a serious-minded and rewarding modern Scandinavian is not better known.

If you are looking for some new music to explore and you like Simpson or Aho give Haug a try :)
 
« Last Edit: September 17, 2011, 11:17:01 AM by Dundonnell »

Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2011, 11:40:52 AM »
Another great Dundonnell introduction. I know Haug's name, but you have fleshed him out nicely for me. I like both Simpson and Aho, though neither belongs to my desert island composers. I'll keep Haug in mind!
Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. -- Plato

Offline Brewski

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Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2011, 12:08:32 PM »
Thanks for starting this thread, which reminded me of this disc below, which I like very much and haven't heard in years. I recall especially liking Silence, but the whole thing is excellent.

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« Last Edit: September 17, 2011, 12:12:20 PM by Brewski »
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Offline Lethevich

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Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2011, 12:24:32 PM »
Agh, a composer that I must hear based on the description. Perculiarly the cheapest disc I can find is on the ASDA webstore, of all places (Americans, read: Wallmart). It doesn't explain which disc it is, but that doesn't really matter:

Link
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Offline J.Z. Herrenberg

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Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2011, 12:31:13 PM »
Agh, a composer that I must hear based on the description. Perculiarly the cheapest disc I can find is on the ASDA webstore, of all places (Americans, read: Wallmart). It doesn't explain which disc it is, but that doesn't really matter:

Link

On the basis that the only info' in the link is that it is the Norrkoping Symphony Orchestra then that is the disc with Symphony No.3, "Silence", "Insignia" and "Song of the Pines".

Buy ;D ;D

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2011, 01:33:13 PM »
I have the same CD as Brewski - I think that the First Symphony got a rave review from Robert Layton in one of those Guide to the Symphony books. I haven't played it for years, but will dig it out.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2011, 08:46:33 PM »
I like both Simpson and Aho, though neither belongs to my desert island composers.

Same here. I think Aho is very interesting but he's failed to really sink me with what little I've heard of his music most namely his Violin Concerto and the Symphonic Dances. I mean they weren't bad, but the overall musical language didn't do much for me. Robert Simpson is still a composer I struggle with because I'm essentially a listener who likes to hear intriguing harmonic/rhythmic ideas and while Simpson has some of both, it's not enough to hold my interest and the melodic material is almost non-existent.
“Works of art make rules; rules do not make works of art.” - Claude Debussy

Offline calyptorhynchus

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Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2012, 06:34:16 PM »
I have listened to the two discs I could get hold of, the Symphony No.1 one, and another with the Symphony No.3.

Yep, another great composer to listen to whilst not listening to Bizet on Classic FM.

I'm bursting to share a piece of information that probably no one is interested in: the 'Nightingale' song in the Symphony No.3 is actually a Sprosser (or Thrush-Nightingale) a closely related species. Only the Sprosser is found in Norway and that is, presumably, what Haug specifies in the score, and is what the Norwegian orchestra playing use. The Sprosser has a similar song to a Nightingale, but lacks the rich 'jug, jug, jug' sounds of the Nightingale.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2012, 08:05:57 AM »
Good Heavens ;D ;D

Offline Christo

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Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2012, 08:30:07 AM »
What does it sing instead? haug-haug-haug?  8)

BTW: have and love the same cd that all so-called BSE talk about, here. Actually, you're not a member of the club if you don't own a copy.  ;D
« Last Edit: January 18, 2012, 08:32:24 AM by Christo »
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948

Offline some guy

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Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2012, 11:18:18 AM »
Norway is not nearly as effective in spreading the word about their composers as the other Northern and Baltic countries. This is partly at least because Norway does not appear to have record companies to match BIS in Sweden, Ondine in Finland or Dacapo in Denmark(to name some examples).
Aurora.

(And Rune Grammofon and Simax Classics.)

music... very much to my personal taste...
Ah, there's the problem right there. Your personal taste only applies to you. Just because Aurora and Rune Grammofon don't record music that's to your personal taste does not mean that Norway is not nearly as effective in spreading the word about their composers.* (And I think you'll find, if you don't know this already, that Simax Classics also has some releases that might be close to your personal taste, though why that should be a measure for anyone but you is still puzzling me!)

His music... is not inaccessible in the slightest.
Neither is the music of Arne Nordheim, or Natasha Barrett, or Jazkamer. Inaccessible to Dundonnell does not mean inaccessible universally.

*I have more Aurora CDs than BIS or Ondine or Dacapo, for example.**

**No, I'm not. To do that I'd have to do something like claim that Aurora is much better than et cetera at et cetera.... ;D

Offline The new erato

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Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2012, 03:04:20 PM »
Anybody heard the new Simax disc of the Finn Mortensen symphony? I have the old Aurora but have always longed for something in more updated sound of this fabulous symphony; and now it's here.

Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2012, 04:58:29 PM »
Aurora.

(And Rune Grammofon and Simax Classics.)
Ah, there's the problem right there. Your personal taste only applies to you. Just because Aurora and Rune Grammofon don't record music that's to your personal taste does not mean that Norway is not nearly as effective in spreading the word about their composers.* (And I think you'll find, if you don't know this already, that Simax Classics also has some releases that might be close to your personal taste, though why that should be a measure for anyone but you is still puzzling me!)
Neither is the music of Arne Nordheim, or Natasha Barrett, or Jazkamer. Inaccessible to Dundonnell does not mean inaccessible universally.

*I have more Aurora CDs than BIS or Ondine or Dacapo, for example.**

**No, I'm not. To do that I'd have to do something like claim that Aurora is much better than et cetera at et cetera.... ;D

My impression-I may be wrong and I shall happily defer to those who may be better informed than I- is that Aurora and Simax issue fewer cds, significantly fewer, than the Swedish, Finnish and Danish companies I mentioned. Certainly, an examination of the website of Simax would suggest that I am not wrong. I have never been able to access an Aurora website on the net with any great ease, again unlike the very obvious BIS, Ondine and Dacapo websites.

Of course I write from the perspective of my own personal taste. I would find it difficult to write much about music which is not to my taste or which I positively dislike. I would expect those members of this forum who I know share to a greater or lesser extent my tastes to be interested in my enthusiasms and to share my interest in a particular composer.

I would, equally, expect those who do not share those tastes to ignore my views and opinions and to treat them with the self-evident disdain and contempt you have demonstrated.

If I am not to be permitted to express a personal opinion then there is little point in continuing to contribute to this form or indeed to remain a member of it.



Offline Dundonnell

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Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2012, 05:51:42 PM »
This is exactly correct.  I do not share all your enthusiasms, but they intersect with mine sufficiently that when I see a post of yours concerning music unfamiliar to me, I follow it with more attention than those who might present the same material with a more take-it-or-leave-it attitude.  What you communicated to me in your earlier post was that there was substance in this composer worth pursuing even if it might at first appear uncongenial.  This is so often the way into rewarding discoveries.  Please continue.

Thank You :)

I know that I have benefited enormously from reading members' posts about composers with whose work I was unfamiliar. If the music sounded as if it might be "up my street" I have invested in buying cds of the music concerned. Often, that has been a revelation to me; sometimes, less often, a disappointment.

Equally, I know that there are other members who are grateful that I have brought a composer to their attention. That is a source of great personal satisfaction and joy to me.

I have absolutely no wish or intention to deter others from continuing to love, admire, listen to the music of their taste and would in no way, shape or form ever wish to deter anyone from investigating any music, whether I personally happen to like it or not.

And that is all I have to say on the matter :)

Offline some guy

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Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2012, 06:09:43 PM »
If I am not to be permitted to express a personal opinion then there is little point in continuing to contribute to this form(sic) or indeed to remain a member of it.[/b]
I am not in a position to do any permitting or forbidding, either one.

I, too, am expressing a personal opinion, which is that you sometimes do more than express your personal opinion but draw conclusions that other evidence does not support.

Anyway, please, carry on.*

*Although, it's not up to me to let you carry on or not!! ;D

Offline starrynight

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Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2012, 03:25:12 PM »
I remember liking some of his pieces, Silence for example.  Maybe there can be a danger just comparing to someone who you think is more famous than them in the topic title, it might make them sound like a lesser composer or just following someone else.  Any composer who has done some successful music to me can have their own individual voice, even if it might still fit within a general modernist style for instance.

Offline Wieland

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Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2015, 08:34:05 AM »
Halvor Haug is new to me, I recently got the CD with his 3rd symphony "The inscrutable life" and I am very impressed.  I love this kind of post-everything which is still tonally based, but dark and brooding. Reminds me a little bit of late Penderecki, whose 3rd symphony I also appreciate. I will try to get Symphony 1 and 2 and hope that 4 and 5 will eventually be recorded by Simax.


Offline relm1

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Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2017, 04:05:31 PM »
Does anyone know why this gifted composer stopped composing at the relatively youthful age of 50?

Offline Christo

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Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
« Reply #19 on: June 28, 2017, 11:16:53 PM »
Anybody heard the new Simax disc of the Finn Mortensen symphony? I have the old Aurora but have always longed for something in more updated sound of this fabulous symphony; and now it's here.
Thanks for the reminder! It's on Spotify, and it's terrific.  :)
… music is not only an 'entertainment’, nor a mere luxury, but a necessity of the spiritual if not of the physical life, an opening of those magic casements through which we can catch a glimpse of that country where ultimate reality will be found.    RVW, 1948