Eivind Buene on inspiration, achievement and influence

Wednesday, May 31, 2017 - 00:00

Composer Eivind Buene talks about his brand new work Sea Change, as well as his greatest artistic achievement, big influences and favourite musical works.

What was your inspiration for Sea Change?

I don't know if I would call it an inspiration, but 2016 was a year of changes, both in politics and in my personal life. Sea Change was also my first piece of music after having published my third novel – and I was very happy to return to music. So it carries a sense of both belonging and loss. I started working on the piece in Venice, and I guess the sense of light, decay and water is reflected in the music.

What do you regard as your greatest artistic achievement?

Good question. I've been making a living of writing my music for 20 years now. To me, that's an achievement. To be able to work, every day, in my studio, with things that interest me deeply. But it's difficult to pinpoint any one work or performance. My fifth solo album is about to be published, I'm also happy with that – having made so much music available on recordings with really good performers.

Describe yourself in three words.

A happy camper.

How would you describe your compositional style?

I'm interested in so many different sound worlds and musics, so I guess my style is that I don't really have a trademark style. I like it when things collide – simplicity with complexity, quietude with loudness, melancholia with ecstasy.

I'm interested in so many different sound worlds and musics, so I guess my style is that I don't really have a trademark style.
Eivind Buene

Which piece of music has had the biggest effect on you?

Impossible to name one work. A short and non-exhaustive list would look like this:

  • Brahms' Requiem
  • D'Angelo's Vodoo-album
  • Mahler's Second Symphony
  • Ferneyhough's La Chute d'Icare
  • Berio's Sinfonia
  • Couperin's Leçons de Ténebrès

What was the first recording you ever bought?

My parents gave me a lot of Beatles recordings when I was a kid (successfully managing to divert my interest away from Kiss at the tender age of seven…) But the first cassette I bought with my own money must have been something with Eurythmics – or maybe it was the Police, Synchronicity.

If you could have any other profession, what would it be?

Simple Question. Architect.

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

The authors I read at any one time. Philip Roth, David Foster Wallace, Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf. Right now I'm reading the diaries of Swedish playwright Lars Norén. I find it totally absorbing, and it has a profound impact on my life. Next month I'll read something else, and the answer will be different.

Eivind Buene's Sea Change premieres in the UK as part of London Sinfonietta's Nordic Nights on Tuesday 6 June.