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Rolf Wallin

Publisher: Chester Music

Act (2004)
Commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra
Chester Music Ltd
Sub Category
Large Orchestra
Year Composed
10 Minutes
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Programme Note
Rolf Wallin Act (2004)
Act is a piece about speed, about the joy of activity, and, above all, about the power of acting together. In a time when competition is so highly focused, it is good to be reminded that the most important reason for the success of mankind on this planet is our ability to cooperate. Acting together has been crucial for physically weak and defenceless creatures like us, from the downing of large mammoths to creating the utterly complex societies of today. And the symphonic orchestra is for me one the most amazing examples of human collaboration. A large orchestra consists of around 100 extremely skilled and highly individual musicians, acting together as one enormous, resounding organism, transforming the stiff lines and dots of the score into living and moving, yet ephemeral cathedrals of sound.

While writing Act, I have carried with me the enthusiastic and warm feedback I got from both musicians and audience during the Cleveland Orchestra's performance of my Clarinet Concerto in May 2003. And I have asked myself: How would this huge, wonderful musical organism act inside my mind? During the ten minutes of the piece, I have let the orchestra summon its forces, to try out how they best can cooperate. Then, finally, it obtains a momentum that sends it pulsating into the last collective surges of forwards motion.

Programme note © 2004 Rolf Wallin

Preview the score

  • Ensemble
    Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra / Kroumata Percussion Ensmble
    Martin Grubinger (percussion)
    Jaap van Zweden / John Axelrod / Jukka-Pekka Saraste
'...featuring writing of real virtuosity in which musical ideas are flung around the orchestra, constantly evolving and transforming. Here the brilliance of the score was matched by a scintillating ­performance from the orchestra and, in particular, its percussion section.'
Paul Hopwood, The Australian,03/10/2014
Act was a contemporary classical hit. The audience loved it, and the orchestra played it outstandingly....The highlight of the concert...filled with energy, a complex and genuinely organic sense of development that's engaging both viscerally and emotionally.
Henning Hoholt,,12/05/2011
The concluding work of the evening, Rolf Wallin's Act, was also like a Stravinsky commentary. But where Rebne's concerto was a pale shadow of Stravinsky's tonal language, Wallin's work appeared as a more than worthy commentary on the great Russian.Wallin showed full command over the art of orchestration and timbre, and the musical playfulness with which he treated the musical form is quite unique in a Norwegian context. I'd love to have taken my hat off to him, if it hadn't been blown off my head in one of the rawest performances I've heard the Oslo Philharmonic deliver. In no way was the work a compromise to please the audience, but its unyielding honesty, together with the extraordinary interpretation, showed contemporary music at its best. Hats off, gentlemen, Rolf Wallin's Act will be standing as a standard work in Norwegian orchestral repertoire.
Magnus Andersson,,01/01/0001
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