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Søren Nils Eichberg : Endorphin

Publisher Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen
Soloist(s) and Orchestra
Year Composed 2011
10 Minutes
Solo Instrument(s) 2vn,va,vc
Availability Hire  Explain this...

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Full Score(s) WH31430

Programme Note

The Concerto Grosso is a musical form which was very common in the Baroque period, but then widely vanished. With “Endorphin” I aimed to explore what of this traditional form is still of interest for us in a contemporary work and what we can save from this temporarily forgotten tradition.

In contrast to the solo concerto there is not only a single soloist, but a small group of soloists – in this case a string quartet – emerging from the orchestra. Partly the orchestra is leading, partly the quartet. Partly they are playing against each other, partly together. Ideas are being created here and are picked up there, revised, echoed, or even thwarted – and vice versa.
In so doing, it is not only the virtuosity of the soloist which is focussed on, but rather the constantly changing colours between smaller and bigger groups, as well as the split-up (fragmentation) and get together of the smaller group which in itself is interesting.

Regarding the title:
Endorphines are what we colloquially refer to as “happiness hormones”. Endorphine is an endogenous opioid that drives our feelings of excitement, pain and love. Thus our body rewards ourselves in certain situations – or stimulates us – with chemical compounds, which make us feel happiness. However, these are compounds which are similar to very dangerous drugs, which can often lure people on to destruction. It was this ambiguity between euphoria and constant threat that I found suitable for the mood to which the music developed during the process of composing:
On the surface there is a seemingly untroubled lust for life and for playing, which is always verging on drifting to something hidden, something broken. Even the tempo declaration at the beginning (“hyped”, quarter = 120) indicates this ambiguity.


  • The piece is like a torrential river, whirling and curving. The composer does not fear noise, nor the use of C major chords. The Mahler Chamber Orchestra enjoys the opportunity to swirl with these joyous endorphins.
    Dirk Hühner, kulturradio, 30/06/2012
  • More exciting than even the best thriller.
    , Hamburger Abendblatt, 28/06/2012


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