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Mothertongue

Mothertongue by Charles Uzor with KammarensembleN and an award-winning mezzo-soprano. This concert was part of the festival Svensk Musikvår (Swedish Musical Spring) 2021.

Igbo is a language consisting eight vowels and 30 consonants; it is spoken by 18 million people in Nigeria. It contains two distinctive pitches that can be used when composing with lyrics in the language, which composer Charles Uzor has done in his piece Mothertongue from 2019. In the five-movement piece we hear the recorded voices of the composer’s mother Maria Christina Uzor as well as Mark Radcliffe and Leenamaija Pirkanaho. The work also includes texts by Paul Celan, Samuel Beckett, Markku Rauhavirta and Novalis (Friedrich von Hardenberg).

Uzor was born in Udo Mbaise in Nigeria, but moved to Switzerland at the age of seven. He composes music for orchestra and choir, for dancing and for opera, but above all, he composes chamber music – and preferably for voice.

Mothertongue will be performed this evening by KammarensembleN and the Austrian singer Isabel Pfefferkorn. Since its formation in 1984, KammarensembleN has become established as one of the most influential ensembles on the Swedish contemporary classical music scene. Pfefferkorn is a versatile, award-winning musician with expressive and intuitive musicality. She has a broad repertoire and sings music in styles ranging from Baroque to contemporary, as well as jazz and pop. In 2017, she debuted at Konzerthaus in Vienna with music by Pierre Boulez. A highlight from recent seasons was a tour of the US and Canada, during which she presented her interpretation of Franz Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise.

  • The music

  • Charles Uzor Mothertongue
  • Participants

  • KammarensembleN
  • Christian Karlsen conductor
  • Isabel Pfefferkorn mezzo-soprano
  • From a livestream 26 March 2021.
  • The video is approximately 53 minutes.
  • Subtitles in English and Swedish is activated by using the CC control in the video player.


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