Haukur Tómasson: Piano Concerto no. 2

Haukur Tómasson (b. 1960) is one of the leading Nordic composers. He studied at Reykjavík College of Music, Hochschule für Musik und Tanz in Cologne and Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam before he completed his masters´ studies in music from University of  California, San Diego in 1990. Haukur was awarded the Nordic Council Music Prize in 2004 for his chamber opera Gudrun´s 4th Song, which is the most prominent prize awarded to a Nordic composer. He has received numerous prizes, a.o. three times the Icelandic Music Prize, most recently in 2012 for his chamber work Moldarljós.

About Piano Concerto no. 2
Piano Concerto no. 2 was commissioned by the Elbphilharmonie Orchestra of the North German Broadcasting Service and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. It was premiered in Hamburg last year by Víkingur Heiðar Ólafsson and the Elbharmonie with conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen, who consecutively conducted the piece in Los Angeles with L.A. Phil.

The Concerto has some of Haukur´s main characteristics, a.o. a thoughtful use of percussion and a clear implementation of rhythmic patterns mixed within a dense sound world. It remains in one movement, twice building up to a climax with the piano accompanied by a single instrument, then more instruments and instrumental groups adding to the mix. After the latter high point a cradling afterthought follows, where a three-part measure or three notes within the same measure, become prominent for a while, before the piano seems to crawl upwards, entering in and out of the frame. Haukur keeps the soloist occupied, being present the whole time, and its part is masterly divided between soloistic gestures and a close interaction with the orchestra.