Le Cuirassè Potemkine

Panserkrysseren Potemkin

(2014) for ensemble/small orchestra and silent movie.

Commissioned by Orchestre Régional de Basse-Normandie, for Festival Les Bóreales, with support from Hordaland County Cultural department.


(1993) for Piano (www.mic.no) (dur: ca. 6)

Written for James Clapperton.
The commission was initiated by Geir Johnson and first performance was at Music Factory in Bergen.

The Hot-house theory explains why earth is such a good place for growth and life. But if human activity continue to send hugh amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, it will cause a negative effect: It gets too warm.

A Hothouse is also a place where conditions are perfect for growth. In this case a small motif becomes a piece of music.

5 Poems

(1994) for Violin and Cello (www.mic.no) (dur: 5:30)
5 Rolf Jacobsen dikt i instrumental fortolkning. Five poems, no words

Fabula II

(1996) for ob, d.bsn, tpt, hn, trb, perc, str(1-1-1-1-1) (www.mic.no) (dur: 7:00)
Composed for BIT 20 Ensemble and premiered by them i 1996, Ingar Bergby, cond. Recorded by Bodø Sinfonietta and Thomas Rimul

Fabula I

(1996) for fl, cl, vibr, pno, str(1-1-1-1-1) (www.mic.no) (dur: 8:05)
Composed for BIT 20 Ensemble and premiered by them in 1996, Ingar Bergby, cond. Recorded by Bodø Sinfonietta and Thomas Rimul

Crossing Lines

(1998) for Trombone, Accordeon, Violin and Cello (www.mic.no) (dur: 11:00)
Commissioned by Jostein Stalheim with support from The Norwegian Composer´s Fund. Recorded by Bodø Sinfonietta and Thomas Rimul


(2003) for Percussion trio (manus) (dur: 10:00)
Commissioned by BIT 20 Percussion with support from The Norwegian Composer´s Fund. First performed at Festspillene i Bergen in 2004

Ten Short Tunes

(2006) for Bass Clar. (Clar.), Tromb., Perc., Piano, Double Bs. (manuscript) (dur: 09:30)
Commissioned by BIT 20 Ensemble (Jug Band). World Premiere at the Borealis Festival in Bergen in March 2006

Blue Fragments

(2008) for Violin, Cello, Piano and Percussion (manus) (dur: ca. 10)
Commissioned by Håkon Kristiansen/Ensemble Blå
with support from the Norwegian cultural fund.


Blue Traces

(Blå spor)

(2006-2010) for solo piano (dur: 16) Recorded on LAWO Classic

"..Men min hovedinteresse i hans program er Blue Traces
av Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen. Jeg ville
hatt vanskelig
for å gjette at dette var av en norsk komponist:
Det første verket er i en skjør Debussy-lignende
som omformes over den sentrale scherzoen til en mer messiansk stil.."
Martin Anderson - Klassisk musikkmagasin

Random Grumble

(2011) for Bass Clarinet, Bass Trombone, Tuba, Percussion and modified Turn Table.

The turn table was modified by Roald Sletteland, who also had the idea for this project.
He put side 2 of the album Arrival by ABBA (released 1976) on the turn table that was controlled by a random algorithm.

I recorded one version of the music that came out of it. This sound file is available.
Each section of the score is marked with a number between 2 and 12.
Before a performance, the conductor has to throw the  two dice. The sum of the two dice decide where to start. More instructions to be found in the score.
When the sound of the turne table stops, the piece is finished.

Modified turn table: Roar Sletteland (roar(at)bek.no
Recording of the modified turn table: Torstein Aagaard-Nilsen t.aagaardnilsen(at)online.no

Commissoned by Ny Musikk Bergen with support from The Norwegian Cultural Fund.


(1996/98) for 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-perc-pno-1-1-1-1-1 (www.mic.no) (dur: 19:40)
1. Fabula III, 2. Fabula IV, 3. Fabula V, 4. Singing Landscape. Commissioned by BIT 20 Ensemble with support from the Norwegian Composer´s Fund. First performed in 1998 by BIT 20 and Ingar Bergby, cond. Recorded by Bodø Sinfonietta (Euridice)

Black Light

(1991) for recorder, violin, singer (alto), piano (www.mic.no) (dur: 6)
Verket inngår i en serie solo- og kammerverk der titlene henspeiler på miljøforuresning (Svart lys)

Cantilena II - Mountain Song

Composed in 2004-05.
Cantilena II - Mountain Song is scored for euphonium (solo) and small wind ensemble: Flute, Alto Flute, Oboe, Eb Clarinet, 3 Bb Clarinets, Bb Bass Clarinet, Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Bassoon, F Horn and Vibraphone. Dur: 10:00.

The piece is a part of a cycle of works exploring different aspects of lyric music played by brass instrument. Not only a singing solo line, but also how the whole ensemble can "sing" with the soloist. In Mountain Song the surrounding support from the group of wind instruments, almost echoing the Euphonium, as if the soloist were playing in a mountain scenery gaining echo as a result.


Wind Doodles

The Quest for Sonority

Wind Doodles

Jeg har en tid forsøkt å arbeide med drodling som innfallsvinkel til komponeringen. Det å komme i gang og samtidig finne en ny vei, er et kunstnerisk problem. Alle søker ulike løsninger på dette. Når man først er i gang, vil ofte teknikk og håndverk overta fordi idéene bearbeides og videreutvikles. Men hva om man fortsetter å drodle? Er det ikke da alt kan skje?

Ordet drodle er ikke forbundet med kunstnerisk arbeidet. I alle fall ikke direkte. De fleste har en eller annen gang skriblet på et papir i et møte eller på en forelesning, og da om en ubevisst handling - helt uten tanke for hva man skapte. Det er drodling slik ordet har oppstått.

Både forfattere, billedkunstnere og komponister trenger tankeflukt. Den frie flyten av idéer som ikke er noe - ikke representerer noe annet enn skriblerier på papiret skapt der og da.

Slik sett har drodling ingenting med kunst å gjøre.

I komponert musikk vil drodling være noe annet. Fordi det krever mye aktiv tenkning å skape musikk - og kunnskap, vil selve drodlingen handle om et fritt forhold til formen og de ulike byggestenene som oppstår. F.eks. ingen konstruksjoner på forhånd, og mye direkte arbeide på computer. 

Stykke er en slags fri assosiasjon, men hele tiden oppstått slik at den neste gesten er en reaksjon på den foregående. En slags kjede av hendelser. Noen ganger i tydelig utvikling, noen ganger dvelende i seg selv.

Undertittelen, "The quest for sonority" har med mine harmoniske valg å gjøre. Det handler om å finne nye sonoriteter; nye klanger og vibrerende harmonikk.

Kunst er ikke drodling, men drodling kan være kunst. Hvor går grensen?

Verket er bestilt av Bergen Unge Blåsekvintett høsten 2016 og er støttet av Frifond, Tit Mohrs Legat og Fond for Lyd og Bilde.

Singing Landscape

Singing Landscape, fourth movement of Sinfonietta

Recorded by Bodø Sinfonietta, conducted by Thomas Rimul (Euridice, EUCD 022)

(1996/98) for 1-1-1-1-1-1-1-perc-pno-1-1-1-1-1 (www.mic.no) (dur: 19:40)
1. Fabula III, 2. Fabula IV, 3. Fabula V, 4. Singing Landscape. Commissioned by BIT 20 Ensemble with support from the Norwegian Composer´s Fund. First performed in 1998 by BIT 20 and Ingar Bergby, cond. 

Musical Doodle II

In 2015, the accordionist Rocco Jerry commissioned me a piece for Accordion and Cello.

 I had just finished another piece of chamber music when Rocco Jerry mailed my, and I thought I would continue with the same basic idea: Doodeling. Just make up things more or less conscious of what I am doing.

For some years now I have regarded my compositional technique in some of my music as a parallell to building with Lego™ pieces with no building instruction. I start to invent a few bricks - so to speak -  and then start to build by combining them in different ways, taking ideas apart and start again until something has that I like has evolved. This way of composing is great to do on a computer with advanced notation software.

 In Musical Doodles II, I used already existing material from another piece of mine, Diptych for Accordion, Harp and String Orchestra.
The process is somehow similar to build something new from Lego bricks that was actually made for something else. And just see (hear) what happens.

First performed by Rocco Anthony Jerry and Michael Gilbert Ronstadt.

The piece was composed with support from the Norwegian Remuneration Fund.

Arctic Pastorale and Dance

A duo for Euphonium and Tuba written for my two good friends, Tormod Flaten and Eirik Gjerdevik. I have worked with both when they have performed or recorded as solo artists for many years. In 2016 they asked me to write a piece that combine their fantastic abilities as players in a duet. The piece was first performed at the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee (USA) the same year.

I have always been fond of the sound of low brass instruments. The richness in timbre and the great ambitus is really inspiring. I have written many solo works for the instruments and also two Tuba concertos and two Euphonium concertos.
But beeing familiar you know that there is som much more to discover. Arctic Pastorale and Dance was an expedition in colours and combination of sounds that I had not tried before.
Living in the very north of Europa, I think the presence of nature does influence our thinking. I always try to make my music sound in a way that can make you think of north.

[I grew up in the Lofoten-Islands above the arctic circle, a very special part of the world. I Portugal you probably know about this region because of the bacalao we send to you. When I was young I took part in the industry that make the cod fish go from a fresh into a dried out light weight product that we could send southwards. We also know a famous true story about portuguese sailors in the (ca 1550) that did not make it in a big storm. The men who survived had to stay in Röst over the winter (Querini). Then they discovered the stoccafisso! - and the rest is history]

Musical Doodle I

Percussion player in Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Frank Aarnink, contacted me on behalf of Duo Harpverk (with Katie Buckley) and asked me if I could write a piece for the Harp-Percussion duo and also include the clarinet. I finished the piece in 2015.

Lately, I have felt a little stucked in certain ways of composing my music. In this trio I try to find a new way, I try "to doodle" a piece. 
For some years now I have regarded my compositional technique as a parallell to building with Lego™ pieces. I start to invent a few bricks - so to speak - and then started to build by combining them in different ways, pull some of them apart and start again until something has occured that I like. This way of compose is great to do on a computer with advanced software for notation..

Drawing doodles is something that just happens. Compared to the act of composing it is different because it is impossible to write music without knowing what to write, what to do, what to write for etc, but doodeling everyone can do.
So, when composing Musical Doodle I, I tried only to write when I did not have clear ideas, "it just happenend".

Music for Blue Days

In 2008 Aagaard-Nilsen wrote a quartet for violin, cello, piano, and percussion which he called Blue Fragments. Here he used a little theme as a ritornello, the part of a rondo that is interrupted by contrasting interludes and repeated a num- ber of times in the course of a piece. Blue Fragments was premiered in 2009. Later the same year Aagaard-Nilsen was commissioned to write a piece for tuba and harp by the Portuguese tuba virtuoso Sérgio Carolino. Aagaard-Nilsen wished to use the ritornello theme once again, but this time as a tranquil melody, as found in Music for Blue Days. The composition was premiered by the Norwegian tuba star Eirik Gjerdevik together with harpist Johannes Wik of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra.
Recorded by Eirik Gjerdevik and Anneke Hodnett on Lawo Classics (LWC 1039)

Singing Landscape II

Singing Landscape II

Stykket henter sitt materiale fra altfløyte-stemmen i sinfonettaverket Singing Landscape fra 1998, som Bodø Sinfonietta spilte inn på en CD med samme tittel i 2002.

Den greske skogguden Pan spilte fløyte og dette forestillingsbildet har vedvart i musikkhistorien siden antikken, og preget vår måte å høre en fløyte. Fløytespill fremkaller assosiasjoner om natur, det være seg fuglesang eller skogudens fløytespill. Singing Landscape II er et lite tonedikt, og enda et forsøk på få naturen til å synge for oss.

Innspilt av Elisabeth Kristensen Eide on the CD "Crosswind" (EUDC 108)


Suite for Bass Trombone and Piano

Ljom is a suite for Bass Trombone and Piano. It was commissioned by Robert Sylta for himself and his friend, pianist Oskar Abel Halvorsen.

It is in five short movements with a total duration of ca. 11-12 minutes.

1. Based on the overtone series and the acoustic scale.

2. It is a musical "natura morte". Everything is constructed from four parallell scales. The melody is shortened in both ends until its nothing more to cut.

3. A scherzo in triplets. Nothing more, nothing less.

4. A tune, almost a barcarole, in wrong surroundings. The same harmonies as in 2nd movement but more active. Still it's something wrong. The nature is not in balance.

5. A bold and straight forward finale with tonal referenses to the first movement.
All the material is freely invented to create symphathetic sonorities.


Suite for fire lurer, slagverk og sang

Om Trollfjell

Suiten Trollfjell ble komponert i 2019 og 2020 på bestilling fra Gaute Vikdal og Jens Chr. Kloster, på vegne av Klang av Oldtid.

Musikken er direkte inspirert av eventyrene om noen sentrale fjell langs Nordlands kysten, fra Helgeland til Lofoten. Eventyrene ble vi barn fortalt i skolen, Nrk lagde en produksjon med Trygve Hoff på 80-tallet, og jeg har lest dem i boken «Trollfjell – Nordland i sagn og virkelighet» av Leif Ytteren (utgitt 1944). Han het egentlig Leif Jensson og var programredaktør i Nrk Nordland.

Erdas døtre

The Daughters of Erda

En trilogi komponert mellom 2001 og 2003. Den består av stykkene Urd, Skuld og Verdande.

Urd er for bass trombone solo, skrevet på bestilling fra Clare Farr
Skuld er for tenor trombone solo, skrevet for Jesper Juul Windahl
Verdande er komponert som en duett for trombone og bass trombone.

Når de tre verkene fremføres samlet, er tittelen "Erdas døtre".