Past & Presence

composed by Henrik Hellstenius for

Augestad, Tora (mezzo-soprano) | Lucchesi, Diego (bass clarinet) | Bergen Filharmoniske Orkester

conductor: Gardner, Edward



Past & Presence is devoted entirely to the orchestral music of Henrik Hellstenius, focusing primarily on vocal works composed for mezzo-soprano Tora Augestad. Hellstenius and Augestad have collaborated for many years, from 2005, when the opera Ophelias: Death By Water Singing (LWC1098) had its premiere, up to this release.

In the principal work here, As If The Law Is Everything, both the music and the lyrics were written specifically for Augestad. Together with the poet Øyvind Rimbereid, Hellstenius has constructed a series of portraits based on Tora Augestad’s vocal and stage personality. The work addresses law as a theme – laws of society, love and the universe. Augestad interprets a variety of “roles” and scenes in the piece, which is structured as a song cycle. Rimbereid’s lyrics have been rendered in English by May-Brit Akerholt.

Dichterliebe presents Hellstenius’s re-composed versions of some of the songs from Robert Schumann’s famous work. Here Schumann’s lines and Heinrich Heine’s lyrics encounter modern instrumentation and compositional flair. Hellstenius invokes his composer’s imagination to interpret these eternal songs in our times.

The clarinet concerto Still Panic was written for soloist Diego Lucchesi and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, here under the leadership of chief conductor Edward Gardner. The work is a journey undergone while in a panic-stricken state of constant flux. From a group of hysterically rotating figures, the work untangles itself into a long, organic form. In the interplay between the orchestra and the soloist, Diego Lucchesi’s bass clarinet cultivates a richly expressive quality that ranges from an underlying and muted disquiet to an eloquent sense of panic.

Henrik Hellstenius is one of Norway’s most distinctive composers, with a career that has spanned over three decades. Hellstenius is always keen to explore and develop his artistic practice, which encompasses everything from opera and dance music to dance, theatre, orchestra works and chamber music.

Tora Augestad feels at home in concert hall settings as well as on theatre and cabaret stages and at contemporary music venues. She is constantly seeking new challenges to share with her various ensembles. The result is a remarkably varied list of accomplishments and an impressively extensive artistic practice.


As If The Law Is Everything (2017)

       for mezzo-soprano and orchester

1)    I. The Law ///  02:49

2)    II. To Be /// 05:50

3)    III. The Stars /// 06:13

4)    IV. The Laws Of Nature (første del) /// 04:15

5)    V. She Who Fell /// 05:59

6)    VI. The Laws Of Nature (andre del) /// 03:04

7)    VII. Epilogue /// 03:50


8)    Still Panic (2016) /// 14:25

       Concert for bass clarinet and orchester


       Robert Schumanns Dichterliebe (2015)

       Re-composed by Henrik Hellstenius for mezzo-soprano and small orchester

 9)   I. Im wunderschönen Monat Mai /// 01:51

10) II. Aus meinen Tränen spriessen /// 01:20

11) III. Die Rose, die Lilie, die Taube, die Sonne /// 01:10

12) V. Ich will meine Seele tauchen /// 02:01

13) VIII. Und wüssten’s die Blumen, die kleinen /// 01:47

14) IX. Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen /// 01:29

15) X. Hör’ ich das Liedchen klingen /// 02:35

16) XIII. Ich hab‘ im Traum geweinet /// 03:26