Eikanger set for Vortex in Bergen

The Norwegian champion will showcase major works at the influential BrassWind Festival in Bergen this weekend — including Robert Simpson's rarely heard final work for the brass band medium.

  The band won the 2019 National title in Bergen

Norwegian National champion Eikanger-Bjorsvik is to make a long awaited return to the influential BrassWind Festival in Bergen this weekend.

The event has been organised by leading composer Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen since 2004, with Eikanger taking to the stage for the first time since 2005 to coincide with their 70th anniversary celebrations.

Major works

The band will perform major works by Robert Simpson, Stig Nordhagen, John Mackey, Jim Grey and Knut Nystedt under the baton of MD Reid Gilje.

Band spokesperson Viggo Bjørge told 4BR: "The BrassWind Festival has become an important artistic event — one that enables major works to be showcased. We are delighted to return in our 70th anniversary year and our thanks go to the organisers."


Eikanger will open their Staurday evening concert (8.30pm) at the Universitetsaulaen with Robert Simpson's rarely heard 'Vortex', his last work for the brass band medium.

Dedicated to fellow composer John Pickard as something of an apology for inadvertently 'stealing' the title from him, its characteristic triple-time pulse is maintained throughout, before the music, full of remarkable austere transparency is 'sucked' into a vortex of notational singularity.

Also being performed is Stig Nordhagen's 'Ground — Dream Sequences' which Eikanger commissioned from the composer.

The four movement work is stamped with the composer's darkly surreal compositional signature — one that was heard to stunning effect with his 'Myth Forest', which will be used as the set-work at the 2020 Norwegian National Championship.

...its characteristic triple-time pulse is maintained throughout, before the music, full of remarkable austere transparency is 'sucked' into a vortex of notational singularity4BR


Solo trombone Vidar Norli, who is also the Principal Trombone of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, will be the featured lead in John Mackey's 'Hymn to the Blue Hour', whilst the band will also showcase music linked to the jazz idiom in Geir Lysne's 'Aurora Borealis'.

'Immortal Bach', based on the hymn tune 'Kom susser Tod' is a tribute to the great composer by conductor and musician Knut Nystedt, with the concert concluding with American composer John Mackey's 'Asphalt Cocktail'.

The compere will be the respected music journalist and presenter Stein Skorpholm.

The festival is opened by the Norwegian Royal Navy Band of Bergen, conducted by Ingar H. Bergen, and is closed by Manger Musikklag conducted by Trond Husebø on Sunday afternoon.

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