Paraphrasing the French 18th-century philosopher, my own artistic motto could be read as 'Tradition, what do you want from me? Live up to me - if you can!' This means: my relationship to tradition is dialogical; tradition is seen as challenge, not as a pillow. This outlook is reflected in my double activities as a composer and musicologist. The historical and analytical perspectives are always present in my creative work. At the same time, when teaching music history and analysis the artistic dimension is always there, I hope. I teach not only facts but also experiences.


The tension between emotionality and intellectuality is reflected in the often dramatic character of my music. Theres is an affinity with Berlioz' "l'imprévu", the unexpected, as a formal principle. In my music, the architecture is nearly bursting from within and at the same time is being kept on a tight rein. Maliciously, my music could be characterized as a composition of intensely dramatic and poetic moments on one side and road-consuming sections on the other.


Orchestral works dominates my output, much of it of long duration. It satisfies my need for emotional expansion and narration. Since the 1970s, the titles reveal a lot about the contents. Reading them you could reformulate my artistic belief as follows: I believe in an absolute music permeated with extramusical ideas of the world, with echoes of history, with inner pictures and visions, with wordless drama.

GUNNAR BUCHT