Göteborgs Konserthus Memorial Concert on All Saints’ Day

Event has already taken place. The magnificent Concert Hall organ brings us together to the tones of Bach, Caccini and Bruckner, with organist Gunnar Idenstam.

Concert length: 1 h Scene: Stora salen
370-530 SEK Student 185-265 SEK

Event has already taken place

With pieces by Francesca Caccini, Johann Sebastian Bach and Anton Bruckner, Gunnar Idenstam brings us together on All Saints’ Day supported by the full force of the Concert Hall organ.

Organisten Gunnar Idenstam i motljus i kraftfull pose.

Foto AnnaReet Gillblad

Francesca Caccini’s beautiful songs were written in the 17th century, here interpreted by the incredible sounds of the organ. Gunnar Idenstam also plays Bach’s Fantasia and Fugue in G minor, which he has expanded and embroidered, as well as the Adagio movement from Bruckner’s eighth symphony transcribed for organ. It is incredibly beautiful music that suits reflection and meditation. The concert ends with his own improvisations dedicated to loved ones who have passed away.

Konserthusets orgels spelbord fotad på podiet med ett sken kring sig.


Get to know the organist Gunnar Idenstam.

Get to know some of the classical pieces.

Look into the organ

The organ is called the ”Queen of Instruments”, and for good reason: no other acoustic instrument is as varied in sound and dynamics, from the very weakest, solitary note to massive chords that cause vibrations in the floor and walls, which is guaranteed to happen in Stora Salen, the main auditorium in Gothenburg Concert Hall, when the sound from the more than 9,000 organ pipes fills the room! The instrument is so large that some of the organ pipes have been installed beneath the audience in the auditorium – when you sit on the parquet you can feel the vibrations from the bass pipes!


Francesca Lasciatemi qui solo

Francisca Caccini (1Francisca Caccini (1587-1640) Lasciatemi qui solo Ballo: Il cavalier di Spagna ur La Liberazione di Ruggiero dall'isola d'Alcina In a painting painted by the father of the Renaissance artist Artemisia Gentileschi, herfriend Francesca Caccini is sitting with her lute, colorful and concentrated. As a musician and composer of chamber music as well as theater music and opera, she made an impression in Florence at the beginning of the 17th century. The work for which she was perhaps best known was "The Liberation of Ruggiero from the island of Alcina", an early comic opera from 1625 commissioned by Duchess Maria Magdalena at the Medici court. It is the oldest surviving opera written by a woman. Incidentally, the poem that forms the basis of the libretto, Orlando Furioso, is the same work that gave rise to Handel's Orlando, and was later reflected in Virginia Woolf's novel of the same name. For this concert, Gunnar Idenstam has made new arrangements of Caccini's baroque music. We hear the dance song Il cavalier de Spagna taken from the opera The Liberation of Ruggiero, as well as one of Francesca Caccini's most popular songs, Lasciatemi qui solo ("Leave me alone here"). Francesca Caccini became one of the most prominent musicians in Europe and remained at the Medici court until 1641.

Cozzolino Ciacona

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Fantasy and Fugue in G minor BWV 542 It has long been a tradition to link Bach's Fantasy and Fugue in G minor to his visit to Hamburg in November 1720 where he, actually invited to audition for the position of organist in Jacobikirche, enthralled a knowledgeable audience with a two-hour long organ concert in the neighboring Katharinenkirche. At the same time, the organs in Hamburg at this time had a kind of middle tone temperament, which would make the violently chromatic imagination almost unbearably dissonant. Several surviving separate manuscripts of the fugue also show that it was composed much earlier, probably in the mid-1710s when Bach was the palace organist in Weimar. So there are a number of question marks. The Fantasy is undoubtedly Bach's most dramatic organ work, a large, free-form recitative in what is called the Stylus Fantasticus, and may well have been composed in 1720. In July of that year, Bach accompanied prince Leopold of Anhalt-Köthen for a few weeks to the spa town of Karlsbad. On his return home, he found his wife Maria Barbara dead and buried without him being informed. One theory is that the fantasy is written under the influence of this traumatic event as a way of processing the situation. The very beginning is like a cry of anguish and the movement is filled with dissonant minor chords with unexpected resolutions and extremely bold enharmonic transformations (for example, that the note F-sharp is reinterpreted into G-flat which gives the opportunity for completely different harmony sequences). Twice the dramatic stage is interrupted by more lyrical episodes. But the main motif here is built up by a descending diminished triad, which underlines the tragic basic effect. The energetic fugue thus becomes, with its contagious joy of playing, a single long relaxation after the drama of the imagination. In a preserved manuscript there is a note that it was Bach's "very best Pedal-Stück", an assessment that must have come from the son Carl Philipp Emanuel. HANS FAGIUS

Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) Adagio from Symphony No.8 Anton Bruckner is primarily known to posterity as the composer of gigantic symphonies that are highlights of the highly romantic orchestral repertoire. But to his contemporaries he was just as well known as a brilliant organist who captivated listeners across large parts of Europe with his fantastic improvisations. That Bruckner was fundamentally an organist is clearly visible in his orchestral symphonies, whose invoice often feels like an organ. For that reason, it has been popular to make arrangements for organ of all or parts of the symphonies, often with successful results. Here, Gunnar Idenstam has made a transcription of the slow movement from the 8th Symphony, Bruckner's greatest work in the genre completed in its first version in September 1887 and in a revised version in 1890. The Adagio, the work's third movement, is one of the longest slow movements in symphonic literature. The music, completely magical in its basic character, surges forward supported by refined harmonies and with Bruckner's typical slowly building bridges towards culminations that become more and more powerful. It is music for eternity where the sense of time ceases to apply. HANS FAGIUS

Idenstam Improvisationer för Alla Helgons dag


Gunnar Idenstam is a concert organist, composer and folk musician, known worldwide for his virtuoso playing, his breakneck improvisations and his innovative attitude to organ art. He builds bridges between the French cathedral music tradition, symphonic rock and folk music. He also arranges large orchestral works for organ, such as Ravel's La Valse and Debussy's La Mer, where he succeeds in transferring the timbre of the orchestra to that of the organ. As a folk musician, he is unique in his way of transferring the idiom of traditional Swedish folk music to the organ. With violinist Lisa Rydberg he has released the records Bach in Swedish (2007) and Bach in Swedish: Tyska klockorna (2014). With Johan Hedin, nyckelharpa, he has made the records LÅTAR and LÅTAR II with Swedish folk music. He also collaborates with the musicians Christian Lindberg (trombone), Anders Paulsson (soprano saxophone) and Benny Andersson as well as the dancer and choreographer Virpi Pahkinen. Since 1986 he is an active international concert organist and has performed in Auditorio Nacional in Madrid, the Cathedral in Monaco, St Eustache in Paris, Kölner Philharmonie Konsertsaal, Concert Hall Ivan Cankar in Ljubljana and Spivey Hall in Atlanta, USA. In 2012 he was awarded the Swedish Royal Academy of Music's Great Interpreter Award.

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