Act is a piece about speed, about the joy of activity, and, above all, about the power of acting together. In a time when competition is so highly focused, it is good to be reminded that the most important reason for the success of mankind on this planet is our ability to cooperate. Acting together has been crucial for physically weak and defenceless creatures like us, from the downing of large mammoths to creating the utterly complex societies of today. And the symphonic orchestra is for me one the most amazing examples of human collaboration. A large orchestra consists of around 100 extremely skilled and highly individual musicians, acting together as one enormous, resounding organism, transforming the stiff lines and dots of the score into living and moving, yet ephemeral cathedrals of sound.
While writing Act, I have carried with me the enthusiastic and warm feedback I got from both musicians and audience during the Cleveland Orchestra's performance of my Clarinet Concerto in May 2003. And I have asked myself: How would this huge, wonderful musical organism act inside my mind? During the ten minutes of the piece, I have let the orchestra summon its forces, to try out how they best can cooperate. Then, finally, it obtains a momentum that sends it pulsating into the last collective surges of forwards motion.
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