The soprano saxophone version of Anders Hillborg’s clarinet concerto Peacock Tales (1998-2001) will be unveiled by Vienna Philharmonic at the Lucerne Festival on 7 September. Valentine Michaud plays the solo part and the orchestra is conducted by Esa-Pekka Salonen. The concerto is presented in its 16-minute Millenium version (2000).
Peacock Tales is one of Hillborg’s most playful and popular works, its various versions receiving over 100 performances worldwide, from conductors including Gustavo Dudamel, Osmo Vänskä, Sakari Oramo and James Gaffigan. Its original incarnation saw clarinettist Martin Fröst performing the piece in a mask, with highly theatrical dance and mime elements. Its title reflects the self-conscious virtuosity and flamboyance of the dazzling solo part; The Göteborgsposten noted that as the piece unfolds “a kind of commedia dell'arte play gradually crystallises, with the various characters portrayed by the same person…It is classy and humorous at the same time” (Magnus Haglund).
Two new works by Hillborg will also appear over the coming weeks. On 14 September the Ensemble Intercontemporain and Matthias Pintscher give the world premiere of Hillborg’s Skysong. Commissioned by Vincent Meyer for Ensemble Intercontemporain, the 22-minute piece for chamber orchestra will be performed at the at the Cité de la musique in Paris. On 25 August members the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra – who commissioned Peacock Tales – will premiere a new Hillborg Fanfare for brass, timpani, and tam-tam. Commissioned by Sveriges Radio for the 20th anniversary of the Baltic Sea Festival, the 2½-minute work will be conducted by Gudrun Dahlkvist.