In his Kongsgaard Variations (2006), Hillborg takes the Arietta-theme from Beethoven’s last piano-sonata, No. 32 in C minor Op. 111 as the basis for an evocative 16-minute work. Beethoven’s sublime music drifts strangely through the centuries and is warped, vaporised, and refashioned as if, in the words of Hillborg, the Arietta ‘is dreaming yet another variation on itself’. In preparation for a Stavanger Symphony Orchestra performance earlier this year, the Variations have been reworked by the composer in a string orchestra arrangement that is already inviting international interest.

On 9 September, the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra presented the national premiere of the new version at Berwaldhallen, Stockholm, under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen as part of Baltic Sea Festival. Salonen paired this with his own Beethoven inspired work. Watch the full concert here.

Salonen will bring Kongsgaard Variations to the USA next with a set of three performances by San Francisco Symphony at Davies Symphony Hall. The concerts run 28-30 October with a programme including Beethoven’s third piano concerto with soloist Yefim Bronfman.

More information available from the San Francisco Symphony website.