Friday 18th May, 7:30pm, Festivalscene
From Boulez to Gudmundsen-Holmgreen
The Festival opening concert will be transmitted by DR P2 Klassisk
Debussy changed music. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth, Athelas and Chief Conductor Pierre-André Valade perform the music of Debussy together with works by two of the greatest living composers.
Claude Debussy wasn't too keen on the label "Impressionism" – but his music was so innovative that it had to have a name. Gone were the classic symphony and sonata forms – each work had its own form and its own title. And gone were the traditional keys for Debussy used different scales and timbres beyond the major and minor modes.
Maria Boelskov is the soloist in Debussy's work for harp and strings. Danse sacrée and Danse profane are the names of the two movements – the hovering character of the ”holy” movement derives from modal scales as in Medieval sacred music, while the ”profane” movement is in a lively and dynamically changeable three quarter time.
”People see me as a theorist but my music is seductive and spiritual as well," says the self-assured 87 year old legend Pierre Boulez. As a conductor, Boulez is regarded as a well-nigh unsurpassed interpreter of Debussy, among others. But as a composer, Boulez distanced himself from his predecessors right from the start and created his own serial systems. He regards all his works as works-in-progress, so that a new work by Boulez is often based on material from his earlier works.
The very title of Dérive 2 signifies that the musical material "derives" from the earlier work Repons – and of course, from Dérive 1 which you can also hear during the festival. The whole of Dérive 2 is based on a single hexacord or six-tone row. In the words of the critic Tom Service, "it is like looking through a kaleidoscope for three-quarters of an hour. It's as if Debussy were to take a single gesture from La Mer and magnify it until it filled 45 minutes."
The Danish composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen will be celebrating his 80th birthday this year. Rather than distancing himself from his predecessors, Gudmundsen-Holmgreen has always felt nourished by the most varied sources of inspiration – musical and non-musical alike. Among the latter are the paintings of Vermeer and the writings of Samuel Beckett.
It is a novel by Beckett, The unnameable, which is the inspiration for Je ne me tairai jamais. Jamais. According to the composer, the piece is about the impossibility and necessity of expressing oneself. The absurdity and black humour of the novel are echoed by the use of unusual instruments like the Hammond organ, mandolin, rattle and policeman's whistle. But it is not least Beckett's indomitability in spite of everything which fascinates Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen: The choir is repeating the ”I will never be silent. Never”, while an actor reads excerpts from the novel which concludes with the words ”you must go on evermore ...”
Pierre-André Valade – Chief Conductor
Maria Boelskov – Harp
Stig Hoffmeyer – Voice
ATHELAS SINFONIETTA COPENHAGEN
Elizabeth Gibbs – Oboe
Anna Klett – Clarinet
Elizabeth Gibbs – Cor Anglais
Thomas Ekman – Horn
Signe Haugland – Bassoon
Jesper Juul Windahl, Christian Schmiedeskamp – Trombone
Matias Seibæk – Percussion
Manuel Esperilla – Paino, Organ
Tove Flensborg – Mandolin
Matias Seibæk – Marimba
Benjamin Fox – Vibraphone
Anna-Leena Haikola, Inkeri Vänskä, Linda Aburto Hernandez, Luiza Labouriau, Loussine Azizian, Benedikte Damsgaard, Sarah Blankholm – Violin
Jane Atkins, Ida Speyer Grøn – Viola
Toke Møldrup, Adam Stadnicki – Cello
Axel Ruge – Double Bass
MOGENS DAHL KAMMERKOR
Regina Unnur Olafsdottir, Hilde Gjermundsen, Sophie Thing-Simonsen – Soprano
Merete Laursen, Hanna- Maria Stand, Anna- Kajsa Holmberg – Alto
Erlend Tyrmi, Adam Riis, Jonathan Ingvald – Tenor
David Wijkman, Johan Bogren, Torsten Nielsen – Bass
Opening speech: French Ambassador to Denmark Véronique Bujon-Barré
Host: Peter Filtenborg, DR
Listen to the concert at dr.dk/lyttilnyt subsequently
CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862-1918):
Deux danses pour harpe chromatique et orchestre d'instruments à cordes (1904):
I Danse sacrée
II Danse profane
PELLE GUDMUNDSEN-HOLMGREEN (b. 1932): Je ne me tairai jamais. Jamais (1966)
PIERRE BOULEZ (b. 1925): Derive 2 – 1st time in Danmark