Nordic Music Days
Ten years have passed since Nordisk Music Days was last held in Copenhagen. In the music world, as in the "real" world, the past decade has witnessed stunning changes. Above all, in our own sphere, we're no longer so sure what is good music and what is bad. We've stopped talldng about musical centers and peripheries. Categories such as "modern" and "post-modern" no longer form such reliable poles in the debate over musical aesthetics. But that doesn't mean we've stopped discussing and evaluating, any more than human upheavals have stopped the world from turning.
Time was when the North was considered on the periphery, and Central Europe at the center, but these last ten years have shown that Nordic composers and performers - and for that matter, musical cultures far from Europe - with ever-increasing naturalness are in on planning the agenda for today's musical-aesthetic debate. In a polycentric world in wrenching development, many an old institution has had a rough time finding its identity through renewal. For ten years now, Nordic Music Days has been peppered with criticism, the strongest skeptics even suggesting that the festival be stopped.
Stopping it is no problem; what's hard is trying to renew the institution from within. It's easier to touch a match to a bonfire and burn up an historic enterprise than it is to contribute bricks and mortar to a structure threatening to fall apart. With this number of Danish Music Review, which insists on being both a concert program and a periodical, we are signaling our faith in the ability of Nordic music to get its act together for the sake of a relevant festival of new music. But we won't be part of this act unless we're allowed to join the discussion and examine the problems. Our faithful readers would demand no less.
Ten years ago, this listener attended a Nordic Music Days concert in Copenhagen featuring the Finnish composer and instrumentalist Jukka Tiensuu. The artist played his own works on the harpsichord. Old and new traditions met head-on, and the unexpected situation arose in which the listener got new insights into himself and the "real" world around him. So long as Nordic Music Days can incite such revelations, there's no reason to fear for the future. But bring on the bricks and mortar anyway.
And welcome to the 1994 Nordic Music Days in Copenhagen!