Since the 17th century, theorists, philosophers and composers have discussed the intrinsic properties of musical keys, and their links to time and space. These discussions and ideas inspired Henning Kraggerud and the world-famous author of Sophie's World Jostein Gaarder to collaborate on Equinox.
Equinox comprises four concertos - Afternoon, Evening, Night and Morning - each of which consists of six postludes, making 24 in all. These postludes are written in 24 keys and depict 24 hours and 24 time zones, taking the listener on a kaleidoscopic tour across the world and time, and journeying musically through the circle of fifths, beginning in C major. The postludes are by turn joyful, mournful, effervescent and heart-wrenching.
Jostein Gaarder has written an original accompanying 24-part narrative, 24 keys to a world before it slips away,
charting a man's journey through time from the Meridian Line in Greenwich, London, which features in live performances of Equinox. As he awaits a potentially serious medical diagnosis, the protagonist decides to make the most of his 24 hours of freedom by visiting every time zone.
Equinox was premiered in 2014 at the opening concert of the Northern Lights Festival in Tromsø, and later performed with Jostein Gaarder narrating in Bodø. Gaarder and Kraggerud performed it again at Risør Festival in June 2015. Kraggerud is currently working on a violin and piano version of the work, to facilitate easier learning and teaching, as well as performances without orchestra, including in some of the remote locations in which the story is set. Each postlude can work as a stand-alone encore, or in a suite.
Equinox - featuring Henning's music, in which he is accompanied by the Arctic Philharmonic Chamber Orchestra - was released internationally on 4 September 2015. To listen to a selection of short excerpts, please visit the Recordings page.
BBC Music Magazine: "Hearing [Henning] play as a Prom encore the tenth of his 24 'Postludes in All Keys' ... opened a window on a magical world ... [the music] is endlessly resourceful and surprising ... from meditation to lopsided dance, it is extraordinary. I can't wait to hear the whole thing in action.”
The Strad: "Kraggerud sticks to a lush, late-Romantic idiom and delivers a beautifully clean, superbly articulated performance of his self-composed solo line throughout, full of character and wit."
Avisa Nordland: "....Between each time zone and its stories is the music. And herein lie the definitive highlights [of Equinox], which come thick and fast. Kraggerud has composed the music and it is beautiful, varied, full of unexpected turns and touching. He has created room for the individual musicians to shine. It is precise as well as generous and spacious - and a fantastically good listen...."
Music Web International: "Equinox is a fascinating composition to return to over and over again"
Setting him aside from many other violinists of today, and in the spirit of the old masters such as Fritz Kreisler and Eugène Ysaÿe, Henning composes his own music, performing many of his own works, arrangements and cadenzas in concert. In addition, Henning is an accomplished improviser, a skill which led to his album Last Spring.
Released in June 2012 on the ACT label, the disc was the result of a collaboration with Norwegian jazz pianist Bugge Wesseltoft, exploring improvisations on Norwegian folk music. Bringing together classical and jazz elements, this unique recording made a far-reaching impression in the international press, including a 5-star Editor’s Choice from Classical Music Magazine, which described it as “beautifully recorded and urgently recommended”.
The Brodsky Quartet and Britten Sinfonia are among the ensembles that have recently commissioned and performed works by Henning.
As of 2014, Henning’s reputation as a composer was sealed by the premiere of Equinox: 24 Postludes in All Keys for Violin and String Orchestra.