Århus Sinfonietta Monday, September the 5th
Svend Nielsen (b. 1937), an associate professor at The Academy of Music in Aarhus, is an alumnus of the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Danish Conservator}' of Music. For years his production was dominated by vocal works primarily with Danish lyrics (Ducts, 1964 and Romances 1974), but he's also been attracted by the dramatic (Chamber Cantata, 1975) and the symphonic (Nuaqe, 1972).
Recent years have seen several orchestral works from Svend Nielsen's hand: a symphony, a violin concerto, and Imperia, an oratory-like work in a more dramatic and extroverted style. However, the lyrical element hasn't been forsaken; it is there in Nightfall, a piece for chamber ensemble.
Nightfall was composed in Rome in the fall of 1989, and debuted in 1990 by the Lontano Ensemble of London at the Louisiana Museum, north of Copenhagen. The chamber work is a single, long sequence, though clearly conceived in five parts. The two framing the piece are quite violent and dramatic; the final borders on the chaotic. The basic concept of the first two parts is perpetually recurring beginnings, rising tonally and dynamically to violent culminations that break up due to their enormous turbulence.
The quiet middle part is static and remote, with a whiff of nostalgia and a pulse that dies out completely As the music once again rises to audibility', it is more relaxed, ascending to a state of gliding. This is shattered in the final movement, when whatever is gliding is dragged down and consumed by the night, as if in a black hole. S.N.
Lars Hegaard (b. 1950) began studying guitar under Ingolf Olsen at The Academy of Music in Odense in 1969. He then moved to Copenhagen where Olsen was reaching at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. After graduation, Hegaard studied composition under Niels Viggo Benrzon. He completed his guitar studies in 1977, and took a diploma in composition following a four-year course under Ib Nor-holm. In [980, Hegaard received a three-year grant from the State Fund for Culture.
The Rolling Force:
A Fantasy for Cello and Sinfionetta
Composed in 1988-89, The Rolling Force is dedicated to the Danish virtuoso, Morten Zeuthen. The work is in three movements, the second and third played attacca. Performance time is about 17 to 18 minutes.
Like my clarinet trio, The Four Winds, this work also derives its inspiration from the American anthropologist and author, Carlos Casteneda. The title stems from his book, The Fire From Within, describing Casteneda's experiences and attempts to relate to the seemingly supernatural and mystical forces of the world of his teacher, the Yaqui Indian shaman Don Juan. A world view poles away from our own civilized one. So The Rolling Force is a cosmic power of both constructive and destructive nature, symbolized by a gigantic eagle. One can, accordingly, describe the first and second movements as a kind of film music without film. The}' are both dramatic and action-packed, while the third movement is more reflective and static in mood. L.H.
Anders Nordentoft holds a violin diploma from the Royal Danish Academy of Music, where he studied composition with Ib Nørholm and Hans Abrahamsen. He continued with Per Norgard at the music academy in Aarhus.
In recent years Nordentoft, now 34, has seen a rise of interest abroad in his work, with commissions from important ensembles such as the Capricorn and the London Sinfonietta. This spring in London, two commissioned works were premiered: the Doruntine piano trio by the Joachim Trio, and The City of Threads by the London Sinfonietta.
"I have discovered a thread that forms a leitmotif through all my works," says Norden-toft, "a tendency to emphasize the ending of the individual phrase - as if the music is reaching for something to make it more aggressive."
The title, Zenevera Sesio, is untranslatable. The words are imaginary - a chanting invocation. These are "word-words" a term coined by Danish poet Michael Strange in his poem, A Test Picture. The joy of making up new words, the somewhat absurd wonder that it's possible -that's how the title relates to the composition.The work is constructed as a series of entries with a touch of melancholy.
Zenevera Sesio for eight instruments was composed as a commission from the Danish Broadcasting System for young, talented European musicians. Written for eight instruments, the piece was originally performed in Tivoli's Concert Hall in May 1992, by musicians from eight European countries, and conducted by Frans Rasmussen.
Karl Aage Rasmussen
Karl Aage Rasmussen wears many hats in Danish musical life: prolific writer, debator, editor, teacher, administrator. Born 1947 in Kolding, Rasmussen studied theory and music history at the Academy of Music in Aarhus, and composition with Per Noergard and Pellc Gudmundsen-Holmgreen. He taught at the Academy of Music in Odcnse from 1967 to 1969, when he was appointed instructor at the Academy in Aarhus. In 1988 he was promoted to professor. Rasmussen has also taught at the Royal Academy of Music in Copenhagen.
In 1975 he founded the The Elsinore Players ensemble. Three years later he established the NUMUS Festival, of which he is still the artistic director. Rasmussen also served as artistic and administrative director of the 1983 ISCM Festival, in Aarhus.
Movements on a Moving Line Movements on a Moving Line was commissioned by the Danish National Radio Orchestra and first performed in 1987, with Oliver Knussen conducting. Some old/new questions intriguing me for years also rummage in this mini-symphony: does time flow like a river or is it just there, endlessly? Docs a musical experience carry us along in time or does it surround us with single moments? One single melodic line runs through the entire work: from it (and on it) four traditinal movements or characters emerge: Allegro, Slow Waltz, a Fanfare-Scherzo and a rhytmical Finale. The melodic line runs in a circle, however, within itself, fast and slow at the same time, like a whirl. Thus the movements come and go and the end is the beginning. What is past and present, fast and slow, if you are moving inside a moving circle? KAa.R.
Århus Sinfonietta, under the direction of Elgar Howarth, completed its first season in the autumn of 1990, receiving a warm welcome on the Danish music scene. "Denmark has formed its own sinfonietta ... an impressive debut, 11 said one reviewer.
Judging by the attendance at its concerts, Århus Sinfonietta is not alone in its enthusiastic commitment to 20th-century music. The ensemble and audience together explore the exciting and complex musical landscapes of our country.
The idea of connecting early and late 20th-century music lies at the heart of the Sinfonietta 's program policy. The old and the new are allowed to shed new light on each other, illuminating the musical links between them. Contemporary music is in constant flux, but so is the older repertoire. Listening habits change over time, so it is important to turn back to earlier periods now and then in order to relive and re-evaluate them. This applies equally to the renaissance, baroque, elasssical and romantic periods.
The aim of Århus Sinfonietta is to present contemporary music of the same high standard that is demanded of performances from the classical repertoire. As Schonberg once said: "My music is not modern, it just gets played badlv.'1 And Boulez expressed much the same sentiment: "Contemporary music should be played as if it were classical, and classical as if it were comtemporary."
Århus Sinfonietta was awarded the Danish Music Critics" Prize in 1992.
Morten Zeuthen is one of Denmark's foremost musicians, in frequent demand as a soloist in the traditional and contemporary repertoire. He is principal solo cellist in the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Zeuthen (b. 1951) received his training under Asger Lund Christiansen, and in Paris under Paul Torrelier.
On his own, and as a member of the internationally-acclaimed Kontra Quartet, he has toured throughout the world and made over +0 recordings. The most ambitious or these, the Six Cello Suites of J.S. Bach, BWV 100--1012, plus a previously unrecorded, self-transcribed cello version of Bach's Partita, BWY 1013, was released in 1993 as a two-CD set on the ('lassie label (CLASSCD 104-5).
Søren K. Hansen
Talk about a full schedule: Immediately after Nordic Music Days this month, Søren K. Hansen will be leading the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra at the ICMC Festival. The musical director of the Gaia ensemble, Hansen is also permanent conductor of the Aarhus Bach Orchestra and Aarhus Bach Choir - and the Dane leads the professional Canadian chorus. Pro Coro.
As if that weren't enough, he is sometimes called upon to guest conduct the F.sbjerg Ensemble, the Jutland Opera, and both the Danish and Swedish radio choruses. And in November, the young maestro will be on the podium for a Nordic Conservatory Orchestra concert featuring Per Norgaard's Giljjamesh.
Søren K. Hansen (b. 1955) took his musical direction diploma at the Academy of Music in Aarhus in 1980, and a choral education diploma in Stockholm in 1984.
Tor Halmrast (b. 1953), a Norwegian composer with a civil engineering degree in acoustics, has written orchestral, chamber, theater and film music.
Halmrast attended the Northern Norwegian Conservatory in [989-90. A festival composer for the 1991 Harstad Festival, he was responsible for the prize-winning music installation in the Norwegian pavillion at the 1992 World's Fair in Seville. Halmrast's Retning (Direction) won a prize at the 1990 EBU Rostrum for Electroacoustic Music. Inter was performed, among other venues, at the 1989 Bourges Festival.
Indra Lorentzen is one of the best-known ballet soloists with the Norwegian Opera. She has danced dozens of solo roles and made many guest appearances at home and abroad.
Lysverket, with Caser Evensen and Inger Johanne Byhring, is a video and lighting company with many assignments in contemporary music and rock. The company designs lighting for theaters, exhibitions, and special projects.
The yard space and facade are taken up by Tor Halmrast's music, Indra Lorentzen's movements, and light and video from Lysverket. The term "facade" is explored literally and figuratively. What are we hiding behind the facade? En facade was premiered at the 1993 Ultima Festival in front of one of the oldest houses in Oslo.