Shetland fiddler Chris Stout, harpist Catriona McKay and Mr McFall's Chamber to give World Premiere of Chrysillis by Norwegian composer Henning Sommerro at the East Neuk Festival

On Sunday 2 July at 2.00pm, two of the foremost soloists in the Celtic tradition - Chris Stout and Catriona McKay - will give the world premiere of Henning Sommerro’s Chrysillis at the East Neuk Festival. They will be joined by the ever-inventive Mr McFall’s Chamber, a group of players formed from the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (two violins, viola, cello and bass).

Chrysillis is inspired by one of the most important 17th century Scandinavian poets, Thomas Kingo, whose ancestry lies in Crail in Scotland. Kingo´s grandfather emigrated from Crail to Denmark and although Kingo grew up with a modest background he turned out to be one of the foremost hymn writers in the union of Denmark-Norway. The title “Chrysillis” refers to Kingo’s love poem written for Cille Balkenborg during his infatuation with her (she would later become his wife).

The composition of Chrysillis was a close collaboration between Sommerro and the two soloists and is the result of many exciting discussions. Musically, Chrysillis draws on traditional music from Scotland, Denmark and Norway, but also leaves plenty of space for improvisation as both Chris and Catriona are known for their improvisation skills. Realising that the main characters, Chris (Stout), Catriona (McKay), Cille (Blankenborg) plus the title Chrysillis, all start with the letter C, the musical tone C has a central place in the piece.

The theme of a “journey” develops throughout Chrysillis with the music coloured by traditional melodies from Scotland (Fife) in the first movement referring to Kingo’s ancestry; Denmark (Sjaelland) in the second movement alluding to his grandfather’s arrival in Scandinavia and Norway (Sunndalen) in the third movement, inspired by Cille Balkenborg’s background in Norway and of course Sommerro’s own home. The work is a tribute to the long history of collaboration for hundreds of years between Scandinavia and Scotland.

The Chrysillis premiere is at the heart of the East Neuk Festival concert which also features more traditional and reinvented Scottish and Nordic music with the Scottish players being joined by a duo of special Norwegian musicians, fiddler Nils Økland and bass player Mats Eilertsen.

Henning Sommerro’s Chrysillis will take the listener on a musical journey from Scotland to Scandinavia. As well as receiving its world premiere at the East Neuk Festival, the work will then travel to the Lichfield Festival (10 July) and to Kamfest in Norway where it will be performed in a version for String Orchestra with the Trondheim Soloists on 27 September 2017.

 

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