GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: Dundonnell on September 17, 2011, 11:13:15 AM

Title: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Dundonnell 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 :)
 
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg 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!
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Brewski 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.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Lethevich 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 (http://www.asda-entertainment.co.uk/cd/norrkoping-sym-orchestra/halvor-haug-orch-works/10416422.html)
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: J.Z. Herrenberg on September 17, 2011, 12:30:07 PM
Tesco's sells it, too, but less cheap...


http://www.tescoentertainment.com/store/cd/norrkoping-sym-orchestra-halvor-haug-orch-works/8%3A767088/ (http://www.tescoentertainment.com/store/cd/norrkoping-sym-orchestra-halvor-haug-orch-works/8%3A767088/)
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Dundonnell 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 (http://www.asda-entertainment.co.uk/cd/norrkoping-sym-orchestra/halvor-haug-orch-works/10416422.html)

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
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: vandermolen 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.
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Mirror Image 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.
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: calyptorhynchus 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.
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Dundonnell on January 18, 2012, 08:05:57 AM
Good Heavens ;D ;D
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Christo 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
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: some guy 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
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: The new erato 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.
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Dundonnell 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.


Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Dundonnell 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 :)
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: some guy 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
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: starrynight 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.
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Wieland 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.

Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: relm1 on June 28, 2017, 04:05:31 PM
Does anyone know why this gifted composer stopped composing at the relatively youthful age of 50?
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Christo 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.  :)
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Symphonic Addict on January 12, 2021, 03:47:46 PM
Just great there is a thread about the awesome Halvor Haug. I already knew his dark and gray first symphony. This second one just blew me away. It's incredibly fascinating. This is a must-hear for some whom I'm thinking of right now. One of my most extraordinary finds regarding Scandinavian music. Yes, it's that great! This man is a real master of drama and hair-raising suspense.

This recording couldn't be better. It's an experience.

(https://resources.tidal.com/images/611a2515/e5d6/4303/8274/bec3760629fc/640x640.jpg)
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Symphonic Addict on January 12, 2021, 03:50:59 PM
It's on YouTube if you want to give it a listen and be curious.

https://www.youtube.com/v/xScW7xEEhhk
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: André on January 12, 2021, 05:01:40 PM
I have symphonies 1-3 and various orchestral works, but I last listened to them in september 2016. I can’t honestly say I remember the music  :-X.
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Mirror Image on January 12, 2021, 05:07:00 PM
I have symphonies 1-3 and various orchestral works, but I last listened to them in september 2016. I can’t honestly say I remember the music  :-X.

One shouldn’t feel bad about not being able to remember a composer’s music, especially when so many of the listeners here at GMG overload on too many composers to the point where I’m not sure if they truly are getting much out of the music. I have slowed down my listening considerably because I actually want to savor the music and get the most out of it I can before moving on to another hundred composers with whom no one has ever heard of. I seriously doubt that some of the listeners here can remember what they heard last month.
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Mirror Image on January 12, 2021, 05:09:31 PM
As for Cesar’s praise of Haug’s Symphony No. 2, I’ll have to disagree. I listened to about 15 mins of it and I was bored out of my mind. Coming from listening to Hartmann, Haug sounds like a warmed over Holmboe. Nothing special.
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: relm1 on January 12, 2021, 05:12:28 PM
Just great there is a thread about the awesome Halvor Haug. I already knew his dark and gray first symphony. This second one just blew me away. It's incredibly fascinating. This is a must-hear for some whom I'm thinking of right now. One of my most extraordinary finds regarding Scandinavian music. Yes, it's that great! This man is a real master of drama and hair-raising suspense.

This recording couldn't be better. It's an experience.

(https://resources.tidal.com/images/611a2515/e5d6/4303/8274/bec3760629fc/640x640.jpg)

I love No. 1 and 2, they are epic and dramatic symphonies.  No. 3 reminds me more of Pehr Henrik Nordgren and No. 4 and 5 sounded more Swedish angst.  None of that is bad just his music is intense, dark, and angst ridden but very good and I regret he stopped composing but understand he and other tonal or "traditional" composers face huge obstacles in Norway according to them.  Another excellent contemporary Norwegian is Kjell Mork Karlsen who has written 12 very fine symphonies but practically given up on hopes of performances given the attitudes in Norway.  Same with Ragnar Soderlind who has 10 epic symphonies and has complained publicly about the Norwegian attitudes towards contemporary tonal music.  These composers are excellent and deserve to be heard.
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: André on January 12, 2021, 06:52:45 PM
+1

Kjell Mørk Karlsen is one of the finest Norwegian composers I’ve heard. AFAIK his 3rd symphony is the only one that made it to cd. His organ and choral music are particularly fine. I’ve mentioned a few of his discs in 2019-20 in the WAYL2 thread.
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Symphonic Addict on January 13, 2021, 01:15:22 PM
I love No. 1 and 2, they are epic and dramatic symphonies.  No. 3 reminds me more of Pehr Henrik Nordgren and No. 4 and 5 sounded more Swedish angst.  None of that is bad just his music is intense, dark, and angst ridden but very good and I regret he stopped composing but understand he and other tonal or "traditional" composers face huge obstacles in Norway according to them.  Another excellent contemporary Norwegian is Kjell Mork Karlsen who has written 12 very fine symphonies but practically given up on hopes of performances given the attitudes in Norway.  Same with Ragnar Soderlind who has 10 epic symphonies and has complained publicly about the Norwegian attitudes towards contemporary tonal music.  These composers are excellent and deserve to be heard.

Agreed. By Karlsen I know two string quartets and one of them is very special.
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Symphonic Addict on January 13, 2021, 01:22:12 PM
As for Cesar’s praise of Haug’s Symphony No. 2, I’ll have to disagree. I listened to about 15 mins of it and I was bored out of my mind. Coming from listening to Hartmann, Haug sounds like a warmed over Holmboe. Nothing special.

If we are gonna talk about boring music, most of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern come to my mind. Boring and awful. To each his own.  ;)
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Mirror Image on January 13, 2021, 01:40:04 PM
If we are gonna talk about boring music, most of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern come to my mind. Boring and awful. To each his own.  ;)

I dare you say that about Prokofiev or Shostakovich! ;D Because if you did, those would be fighting words! Anyway, just telling you what I heard and why I disagree with your over-the-top exclamatory statements about this particular symphony.
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: relm1 on January 13, 2021, 05:52:36 PM
Agreed. By Karlsen I know two string quartets and one of them is very special.

Here is an excerpt of Kjell Mork Karlsen's Symphony No. 2 that has not been released...dramatic and intense.  But apparently too tonal to get released.
http://clyp.it/kwij2xff
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: vandermolen on January 13, 2021, 11:04:07 PM
Here is an excerpt of Kjell Mork Karlsen's Symphony No. 2 that has not been released...dramatic and intense.  But apparently too tonal to get released.
http://clyp.it/kwij2xff
Wow! That's quite something. The organ section reminds me of 'Sinfonia Antartica'. Do you know if a release on CD is planned? Anyway, thanks for posting. As for Haug I have the 'dark and grey' First Symphony but haven't played it for ages. The symphony that I've been most impressed with recently is Ragnar Soderlind 8th Symphony 'In Memory of Sibelius':

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr5oA_cyfZk
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: relm1 on January 14, 2021, 07:37:42 AM
Wow! That's quite something. The organ section reminds me of 'Sinfonia Antartica'. Do you know if a release on CD is planned? Anyway, thanks for posting. As for Haug I have the 'dark and grey' First Symphony but haven't played it for ages. The symphony that I've been most impressed with recently is Ragnar Soderlind 8th Symphony 'In Memory of Sibelius':

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr5oA_cyfZk

No plans...he said no interest in even premieres of some of his symphonies and some have only been performed once by local community orchestras so doesn't do this large stuff any more...now more chamber choral and solo organ with him playing which is about the only way to get it played.  Even the Norwegian music center website has been down for months (I routinely check).  Kind of sad.
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: vandermolen on January 14, 2021, 08:23:51 AM
No plans...he said no interest in even premieres of some of his symphonies and some have only been performed once by local community orchestras so doesn't do this large stuff any more...now more chamber choral and solo organ with him playing which is about the only way to get it played.  Even the Norwegian music center website has been down for months (I routinely check).  Kind of sad.

Yes, very sad indeed but thanks for the update.
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Symphonic Addict on January 14, 2021, 10:40:55 AM
Here is an excerpt of Kjell Mork Karlsen's Symphony No. 2 that has not been released...dramatic and intense.  But apparently too tonal to get released.
http://clyp.it/kwij2xff

Where did you get this excerpt? Sounds great.
Title: Re: Halvor Haug(1952-): a Norwegian Robert Simpson?
Post by: Christo on January 14, 2021, 01:35:31 PM
Where did you get this excerpt? Sounds great.
+1