• Marmæle, Solo concerto, commission, performed with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, May 2016

Jon Øivind Ness (b. 1968) is a Norwegian composer from Inderøy. As a child he played ute, violin and clarinet, but he started at the Norwegian Academy of Music as a guitarist in 1987. From 1989 he went to composition studies at the same teaching place, with Olav Anton Thommessen, Lasse Thoresen, Bjørn Kruse and Ragnar Söderlind as teachers.

Ness got his breakthrough as a composer with the work Schatten for 23 musicians, which received the award Work of the Year 1993 from the Norwegian Composers’ Association. He has since been awarded the Edvard Prize twice, for the works Cascading Ordure in 1997 and the Dangerous Kitten in 2000. Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra recorded the album Low Jive in 2009, devoted to music by Jon Øivind Ness, which was awarded the Spellemann award (Norwegian Grammy) for this release. His works have been performed in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Malaysia, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States. Ness was in the concert season 2012-2013, the composer profile of Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. Ness has often used references to other musical works through humorous slanting in his music. In recent years, he has increasinglywanted to express himself through music that communicates alone as music, without cryptic references to external phenomena.

Ness says about Marmæle:

It is written out of concern about what we do with nature. Marmæle says: «Do not mess with the Ocean!». Both pieces are written as a kind of parody on romantic tone poems, but I hope they work just like romantic tone poems. I have de nitely moved in a romantic direction in recent years, but it is a romantic that is as much inspired by the so-called «organic modernists» (Haas, Sciarrino, Grisey) or sound images from ambient pop music, as it is of Sibelius or Mahler. Marmælen is a creature that lives in the ocean and which creates havoc if you do not treat it well. In this piece, I explore the microtonal landscape I have worked on harmonically for some years now, but also melodically. The cello voice is based on impulses from folk music and perhaps Arabic art music, but without the tonal center. The interval of the 3/4 tone, which occurs in folk music from around the world and Arab art music keeps reoccurring, but it is moving around all the time. The ever-modulating microtonal solo part was a big challenge for soloist Marianne Lie, but she mastered it masterfully and delivered a striking result.

Funded by The Norwegian Composers Fund (Det Norsk Komponistfondet).