Garden of Devotion – Rolf Martinsson

New Orchestral Works Commissions

The Swedish composer Rolf Martinsson and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra have been working together for several years. His work is a good match with our orchestra due to the accessible nature of his compositions. He composed Garden of Devotion in 2015 and in the process of composing worked closely with soprano Lisa Larsson.


Rolf Martinsson started composing when he was 12 years old. He was fascinated by Beethoven’s Piano Sonates. “I tried to do something like it.” In this he most definitely succeeded, as Rolf Martinsson is one of Sweden’s internationally leading composers. He serves as professor of composition at the Malmö Academy of Music and is a Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra was proud to invite Rolf Martinsson to become composer in residence for the season 2014-2015.

He composed Garden of Devotion combining the poems of the Indian-Bengal writer Rabindranath Tagore with the soprano voice of Lisa Larsson and the string orchestra.


The songs performed by Lisa Larsson are written by the Indian poet and Nobel prizewinner Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941). They were published in his famous work The Gardener (1913). Tagore’s work discusses themes such as love and sorrow. Tagore modernized Bengali art by spurning rigid classical forms and resisting linguistic structures. His novels, stories, songs, dance-dramas, and essays spoke to topics political and personal.



Her voice shines, is crystal clear and gracious. The press about Lisa Larsson -

Swedish soprano Lisa Larsson started her career as a flautist and thereafter studied singing in Basel. Her first engagement was at the Zurich Opera House under Nikolaus Harnoncourt.

Following her debut at La Scala in Milan under Riccardo Muti, she swiftly developed an international career, in particular as a Mozart interpreter, appearing at the most prestigious European opera houses and festivals.

Lisa Larsson
Audio: Recorded live at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, November 27th 2016 Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Gordan Nikolic (violin / concertmaster), Lisa Larsson (soprano) -
Interview: Rolf Martinsson about his collaboration with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, Lisa Larsson and his new work Garden of Devotion

“With the Tagore interpretations he once again shows his skill in letting the instruments contribute organically to the nuances of the words. His melodies may be perceived as unpredictable, but become quite natural in their movements as they follow the meaning of the poems. When rising and falling strings follow the emotional changes – then the artistic balance is perfect. The work is composed for Lisa Larsson, and it tells a lot about their musical relationship. Without effort or mannerism she took on the most difficult passages with a light but yet rich sound. And her natural singer’s joy in the midst of her professionalism, was wonderful…”

The press about Garden of Devotion

see other kits: