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HK Gruber Northwind Pictures

The Austrian composer, vocalist and conductor HK Gruber has an incredible ability to charge his music with surprising elements. He recently turned 75 and was in focus at the 2017 Stockholm International Composer Festival at Konserthuset Stockholm. In this concert video, he leads the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra in the fascinating orchestral piece Northwind Pictures.

The comic opera Der Herr Nordwind from 2005 is about a poor farmer’s battle against a type of weather god, Herr Nordwind, who is destroying the crops. A surreal fight with magical elements plays out between the farmer, nature’s gods and a religious order.

The orchestral piece Northwind Pictures is based on music from the opera. One of the starting points for the piece was the “windiness” which Gruber has painted with the orchestra in the opera. A wind machine is included in the instrumentation, along with a variety of unusual percussion instruments, and even a few music boxes with beautifully twirling ballerinas!

Northwind Pictures could be called a symphonic poem, as well as a type of concert for orchestra with tons of solo parts and musical virtuosity for the entire orchestra, which is flung between extremely dynamic contrasts and a dose of swinging jazziness.

  • The music

  • HK Gruber Northwind Pictures
  • Participants

  • Royal Stockholm Phiharmonic Orchestra
  • HK Gruber conductor
  • Filmed in November 2017.
  • The video is approximately 25 minutes.