Watch: One of Olly Knussen’s last concerts

Watch: One of Olly Knussen’s last concerts


norman lebrecht

July 09, 2018

Helsinki, March 2018. A programme of Busoni, Brahms and Knussen.

There may be a sound problem in some territories. If so, click here.

The soloist in the Knussen horn concerto is  Jukka Harju.


  • SoD says:

    I was there in the audience. A wonderful concert, and the programme was very interesting. The evening also included a late night chamber music performance after the main concert, with a new piece by the horn player who played Knussen’s concerto. Knussen attended the event too, it must have meant a lot to the younger composer. I’ll treasure the memory, especially now that he isn’t among us anymore!

  • Rodney Friend says:

    The wonderful Brahms II starts at 34:20

  • Deborah Mawer says:

    The Times Obit said that Ollie’s
    “….blokeish enjoyment of simple pleasures (cigarettes, hearty food and films) endeared him to many”

  • Alex Davies says:

    Does anyone know the origin of the name Knussen? Is it originally Scottish? To me it looks more Scandinavian perhaps. There is, after all, a very long history of immigration from Scandinavia to Scotland.

  • John Borstlap says:

    In the score of Brahms II, at the beginning of the 1st mvt, there is written: ‘Allegro non troppo’ for a 3/4 metrum. But he plays it definitely Allegro, very light, and clear, but many of the expressive nuances of phrasing are lost. It is an approach influenced by HIP (Norrington etc.) who consider Brahms to be a classicist, so the references to Haydn and Mozart are incorporated in the interpretation. The result sounds superficial to me – playing the notes rather than the music, no atmosphere, no pathos, no extasy, no dark hues: emotionally suppressed. It is like a black-and-white photo of a strongly-coloured painting. This approach seems to refer to his own music, which is equally ‘cool’.

    • Hilary says:

      ‘Cool’ is a fair description of OK’s bejewelled aesthetic. I admire much of his output, and some it I respond to enthusiastically as a listener: Of late, I’ve particularly liked Fantasia upon one note, and the exquisite ‘Ophelia’s Last Dance’.
      The imitators who followed in his wake/shadow are the stumbling block.

  • Phillippa Ballard says:

    Alex, one of the obits said that the name Knussen is Norwegian

    • Alex Davies says:

      Oh, thanks, that is interesting to know. I have a friend whose family have been Scottish for countless generations but their surname is Viking.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Traces of the Norwegian invasions in de Dark Ages, which injected the British gene pool with some of the characteristics which greatly helped to build the Empire and colonize much of the world.