Tuesday 22nd May, 10:30pm, Festivalcafé
With Bloch and Westergaard
The concert will be recorded by DR P2 Klassisk
Euphoric and hard-hitting. Four Danish composers have written songs especially for this concert.
Since Franz Schubert wrote 600 songs in his short life and revealed the infinite possibilities of the interplay between a singing voice and a piano, songs or Lieder has been an important genre in classical music.
Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen celebrates his 80th birthday in 2012 while his career as a composer is still at its peak. Since his debut in 1955 he has been inspired by music regardless of genres, from Carl Nielsen to the folk music of the Pygmies, and by other art forms such as painting and literature, so that he is truly "beyond category" (to use the phrase coined by Duke Ellington). Grene grå [Branches Grey] are songs to poems by Ursula Andkjær Olsen, a poet who also draws on various sources of inspiration – not least musical ones. She has recently written a book on Gudmundsen-Holmgreen's music.
Martin Palsmar has chosen texts by a contemporary of Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, a poet who is universally known in Denmark, Klaus Rifbjerg. The texts are from his early book of poems with bird motives, Voliere – which is as much about human beings and language as it is about birds and nature. "It is a cycle of songs where the birds are mythological images of the different stages of human life," says Palsmar, "the idea was to write character pieces in different genres which have been in vogue in Rifbjerg's lifetime – The Swan is inspired by Charles Ives and Poulenc, while The Cuckoo is a bit like Darius Milhaud, The Peacock gets a pinch of Messiaen, and The Blackbird is reminiscent of The Second Viennese School and Hans Werner Henze."
Nicolai Worsaae and Niels Rosing-Schow have set poems to music by foreign poets of the past who have one thing in common – namely that even though they are regarded as classics, their poetry still seems wild and experimental.
Nicolai Worsaae has set a poem by the French-German Dadaist Jean Arp – Et frappe et frappe et frappe: ”The poem describes briefly and brutally everything that he feels like hitting. It is a rebellion against formalities and the conventional way in which we are taught to deal with the world. The poetry is hard-hitting and direct, and it is this energy which is transformed into a sound universe which calls to arms against the Lied-genre's bourgeois iron grip around music,” says Worsaae.
In Niels Rosing-Schow's Bald sind wir aber Gesang, the source of inspiration is the mad and visionary German Romantic poet Friedrich Hölderlin. His poems encompass both the Classicist fascination with the ideals of Antiquity and the Romantic eternal longing for a utopian golden age. Hölderlin lived in seclusion for the last 36 years of his life – incurably mad.
Listen to the concert on dr.dk/lyttilnyt
Jakob Bloch – bass barytone
Christian Westergaard – piano
NIELS ROSING-SCHOW (b. 1954): Bald sind wir aber Gesang. Hölderlin Fragmente für Stimme und Klavier – poems by Friedrich Hölderlin (1770-1843) – first performanceI) Der Himmlischen
II) Und Manchen möcht' ich laden
b) La vue
III) Des Göttlichen aber empfiengen wir
c) Le printemps
IV) Leichtathmende Lüfte
MARTIN PALSMAR (b. 1970): Four songs from: Rifbjergske fugle [Rifbjerg Birds] – lyrics from Voliere by Klaus Rifbjerg (b. 1931) – first performance
PELLE GUDMUNDSEN-HOLMGREEN (b. 1932): Grene Grå [Branches Grey] – Five songs to poems from Ursula Andkjær Olsen's Skønheden hænger på træerne (f. 1970) – first performance
NICOLAI WORSAAE (b. 1980): Et Frappe – poem by Jean Arp (1887-1966) – first performance