On 23 October Remix Ensemble conducted by Olari Elts gave the Portuguese premiere of Anders Hillborg’s Vaporised Tivoli for ensemble at the Casa da Música, Porto. Vaporised Tivoli was premiered in 2010 by Ensemble Modern and Franck Ollu at the Sacrum Profanum Festival in Poland; in 2013 it was recorded by the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert. 

The title of the 10-minute piece evokes a ‘tivoli’ – a carnival or fairground, such as the famous Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen. The first six minutes of the work are a wild and energetic sprint around the various rides and attractions of the Tivoli, brimming with ecstatic joyfulness. A sudden change of mood comes upon the piece, as if the plug is pulled, and the music becomes more lush and ambiguous in character.

The unsettled and sinister mood of this sequence is inspired by the ghoulish vision of a travelling carnival depicted in Ray Bradbury’s 1962 horror novel Something Wicked This Way Comes, which Hillborg read as a teenager. At the conclusion of the piece the music suddenly vanishes, leaving only an eerie solo for double bass.

This autumn also sees a focus on Hillborg’s music from the Sinfonieorchester Basel, with Swiss premieres including Sound Atlas (2018) in October and his 2022 Cello Concerto forthcoming from Nicolas Altstaedt in November; Sinfonieorchester Basel previously co-commissioned Hillborg’s 2021 Viola Concerto. Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto was soloist in Hillborg’s Ich ruf zu dir, herr Jesu Christ for violin and strings in September in Basel. On 14 September the Ensemble Intercontemporain and Matthias Pintscher premiered Skysong for mixed chamber ensemble in Paris.