Storytelling is hardwired into Steingrímur Rohloff’s music. He is acknowledged for his colourful harmonies, refinement and emotionally acute works. Rohloff's new Concerto Grosso for four brass solists and orchestra is full of beauty and finesse with a strong emphasis on the nuances of texture and timbre.
Now, the first recording of Concerto Grosso is released as a digital album on Dacapo Records. Learn more and listen to the album here.
In March 2022, hornist Stefan Dohr, trombonist Jesper Busk Sørensen, trumpeter Gäbor Tarkövi and tuba player Jens Bjørn-Larsen gave the first performance of one of Rohloff’s Concerto Grosso, with the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra. Each of the soloists had already taken principal roles in brass concertos by Ole Schmidt. Rohloff's Concerto Grosso was designed to end the concert by uniting all four distinguished soloists in a single work.
The work is composed specifically for the four distinguished solists. Before writing, Rohloff visited the soloists in Berlin (Busk Sørensen, Tarkövi and Dohr are members of the Berliner Philharmoniker) to familiarize himself with their style and allow him to tailor his music to it.
In the video below Rohloff and the four solists talk about the work and their collaboration.
Lyrical brass notes
Rohloff's Concerto Grosso consists of four movements. Loosely speaking, each solo instrument gets a movement to itself where Rohloff takes them to their expressive boundaries, while also capturing something of the artistry and spirit of the individual brass players. At the same time, the whole work is pervaded by dialogue between all solo instruments and the ‘tutti’ ensemble, so there are constant connections between them and places through which they can meet.
The four movements are organized traditionally according to a slow–fast–slow– fast pattern. We get to hear both the playful and acrobatic solo horn, and the rhythmically insisting trumpet, but contrary to our clichéd view of soloists and their tendencies towards virtuosic display, Rohloff discovered that among the most remarkable skills offered by these four high-level orchestral musicians was a common ability to play very slowly and quietly.
This can be heard in the first movement, in which the tuba slowly unfolds the music through long, legato lines, or in the third movement which is a soothing aria for trombone, draping its sond over the orchestra. ‘One should never forget how beautifully, quietly and lyrically they can play,’ Rohloff says.