Jon Mostad

          – composer



Kveikjande klåre. Dag og tid, Sjur Haga Bringeland, 16.01.2015 (Norwegian, about LWC 1076.)

Christiania mannskor: Klang, Den klassiske CD-bloggen, Trond Erikson, 22.10.2015 (Norwegian, about LWC 1076.)

Ny norsk mannskormusikk, Hamar arbeiderblad 09.12.2014 (Norwegian, about LWC 1076.)  

Dansk Musik Tidsskrift, 4, 1996-97, s.139-140 by Jens Cornelius (Danish; about  ACD 4978,) English translation.

Filharmonisk hemmelighet, Dagens Næringsliv, 21st of July 1996 by Hugo Lauritz Jenssen (Norwegian, about ACD 4978,)

Så lenge lyset skinner... Vårt land, 3rd of July,1996 by Olav Egil Aune (Norwegian, about ACD 4978.))

Fanfare, volume 13, Issues 1-2, s. 62 by Joel Flegler 1989 (about the recording of Towards Balance on NCDB 4948):

“Jon Mostad (b 1942) contributes Towards Balance, for orchestra (1977-78), a splendid little piece that reminds me just a bit of a couple of John Adams’s things: The date precludes suspicions of borrowed inspirations. More a case of shared Zeitgeist."

Other texts about Jon Mostad’s music

Brian Dukeshier: A Musicological Journey through Psalm 96. Essay for the Master's Degree in choral conducting, Messiah College, Pennsylvania, USA, 2011. The section covering Mostad's O Sing to the Lord is higlighted in yellow.

Matthew Berry, Director of Commotio, Oxford, UK, comment after having conducted The Lord is my Shepherd (2006) and O Sing to the Lord (2007):

"I was delighted to have the opportunity to conduct Jon Mostad's very fine Psalm settings, 'The Lord is my Shepherd' and 'Sing to the Lord'. The hockets in the latter reverberated beautifully in the generous acoustics of Merton College Chapel, Oxford. Both pieces were very well received by choir and audience alike".

Texts by Jon Mostad

Vekkelsen og det kirkelige embete i Norge 1842-ca.1860,

Contribution to Seminar for Nordic Church History Research, Båstad 26.-28.-aug. 1966. Universitetsforlagets trykningssentral, Oslo 1966.

Christopher Bruuns holdning til vekkelsen i "for frisindet Christendom", 1884-1886,

Tidsskrift for teologi og kirke, Oslo 1968. Separate prints of the article available from the author.

Aleatorisk kontrapunkt. Analyse av Witold Lutoslawski: Symfoni nr. 2, 1. sats: Hésitant med en oversikt over oppbygningen av storformen i hele verket. A part of his diploma work, NMH, Oslo, 1974. Ms.

“und Chopin ist auch dabei", et à propos til Bø-Rygg, Ballade nr. 3, Oslo 1982.

Med fanfarer og fyrverkeri – inntrykk fra Nätverk-festivalen i Göteborg, Ballade nr. 2, Oslo 1993

Etter postmodernismen, Parergon nr. 10: 81 manifester, Oslo 1999.

Olivier Messiaen – musikk, tid og evighet, Lære og liv, nr 4, Bergen 2008. (The linked text is a slightly revised version of the original periodical article.)

Comments on own works:

His Face was Like the Sun for concert band:

The title is from the Book of Revelation in the Bible. In Rev. 1, 12b-16, John sees seven lampstands, and among them someone "like a son of man,"

A description of his glorious appearance ends up with the phrase: “His face was like the sun, shining in all its brilliance." I first thought of including a reading of the entire text of Rev. 1,12b-16 in the piece, but finally dropped it. Still, the piece is an attempt at giving resonance to the brilliance and beauty described in the text. There is also room for episodes of a more meditative character, in the form of static sound fields and a chorale-like section. The most direct hint to the text is that seven transitions between sections in the music are marked by strong blows on a deep tam-tam. (cfr. "seven lampstands")

The chorale section becomes an axis which the piece revolves around. Afterwards, much of what happens, is a development of ideas from the first part. This includes even fragments from the "chorale", like in the first part. One of these fragments is a quotation from a mass for choir and organ that I wrote shortly before this work. In the mass, the text of this quotation is: "Born by the virgin Mary." Even if the quotation was as much motivated by musical considerations, it also points beyond the music: He who reveals himself in heavenly brilliance, is the same that was born into this world as a little human being.

String Quartet No.1: Three Introductions and an Essay:

The three Introductions focus on different ways of forming music; in the first one, the emphasis is particularly on attacks, both as single notes and chords; in the second there is harmony and melody based on the harmonic series, which necessarily implies microtonal deviations from the tempered scale; the third focuses on polyphonic interplay of musical lines. The Essay moulds all these varieties of texture together on a larger canvas, and becomes freer and maybe more emotional than the shorter introductions.

Like the Sound of Rushing Waters for piano solo:

The work came into being in two stages. First, I improvised on the piano and jotted down simplified sketches on a piece of paper. After a few years, these sketches became subject to a more systematic further composing. High-pitched chords and longer lines of melody, in part intertwined in large broken chords, play together with scale movements that are caught by the pedal into "rushing", cluster-like sounds.

This last element brings associations to the many references to sound in the book of Revelation in the Bible, like the passage in chapter 1 that describes the voice of the Son of man like the sound of rushing waters. (Rev. 1, 13. 15.) That is the way the title came up.

"Like the Sound of Rushing Waters" was premiered by Einar Røttingen in the home of Harald Sæverud, Siljustøl, as a part of the Bergen International Festival of 1999.

O Sing to the Lord, no.1 of Two Psalms for mixed choir SSAATTBB a capella:

The text of Psalm 96 shouts out "a new song" of praise to the Lord. Once when I heard  it read, I "heard" moving chords and melodies passing between the parts with each part singing one syllable of the text. That became a germinal idea for the composition. In the completed song there are also longer melodic lines with coherent text in one or more parts. The sound is mostly bright, with a harmony close to parts of the harmonic series.

Out of the Tempest, for 'cello and piano:

On the first page of the score, there is a motto from Job 38,1: "Then the Lord answered Job out of the tempest." The phrase is repeated later in the book of Job (40,1.)That explains the title as well as a characteristic element of the musical development. The musical narrative twice goes through "tempestuous" passages leading to music evoking a mood of calm and confidence.

The harmony of the piece fluctuates between a "twelve note" sounding and one based on a close approximation to the harmonic series. Towards the end,

the latter becomes more and more predominant.

The Enchanted Piano for piano and soundtrack:

As the title suggests, the tape part presents several “tricks” with piano sound, which is sometimes easily recognizable, other times heavily distorted. The sound processing has been made with very simple tools: A sampling keyboard with its built-in processing devices. As in many of my works, the harmonic

series is an important point of orientation for the harmony of the piece. The short  piece develops towards clarity and balance, which is also characteristic of some of my other works.

The work, completed in 1989, was premiered in 2001, when GéNIA played it at the Dartington International Summer School in Totnes, England.