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Mindeord om Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen

2016-06-29
En af vores allerstørste komponister Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen mistede vi den 27. juni, 83 år gammel. En komponist der igennem mange årtier komponerede musik der inspirerede, brød, provokerede og interesserede. En komponist der har haft umådelig stor musikalsk betydning for de generationer, og måske allermest den yngre generation af komponister efter ham. Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen fik i en lang række år udgivet værker hos Edition·S indtil han i 2012 samlede alle sine værker hos Musikforlaget Wilhelm Hansen. Vi har bedt komponist Rune Glerup om at skrive en tekst.

Photo: Hanne Budtz-Jørgensen

“Mumlen i mudderet”. Det er titlen på syvende sats af Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreens klaverkoncert “Plateaux pour Piano et Orchestre” fra 2005. Det er også et citat fra Samuel Becketts “Hvordan det er”. Begge dele var jeg godt i gang med i mandags, og mandag aften modtog jeg nyheden om, at Pelle ikke er her mere. Det er næsten ikke til at forstå. Pelle var indtil for ganske kort tid siden så fuld af energi og idéer, at de fleste af os så frem til mange år endnu med dette utrolige menneske, og til endnu en lang række nye værker fra hans hånd. For Pelle var jo en af os, en af de unge. Han nåede aldrig at “blive gammel”, og han er nok den danske komponist, der har haft størst betydning for mig personligt, og det er min fornemmelse, at det samme gælder for mange komponister i min generation.

Han har sikkert haft forskellig betydning for hver af os, men jeg tror, at der var noget underliggende hos ham: en musikopfattelse, en livsopfattelse, som særligt appellerede til den yngre generation. Vi voksede måske nok op med fortællingen om Pelle som etableret outsider, men for os var han aldrig outsider. Han havde så meget fat i struben på nutiden, at det var umuligt at overse. Ingen lummer romantisk patos, ingen forstillelse - hverken musikalsk eller personligt – ikke noget pjat. Derimod et væld af idéer formuleret så klart, præcist og uden dikkedarer, at det kan gøre enhver kollega misundelig. Det kunne være grove, absurde eller ubehjælpelige idéer, som det især var tilfældet for mange af de tidligere værker. Det er han blevet berømt for. Men det skal også bemærkes, at han havde et godt øje til de smukke, poetiske idéer. I klaverkoncerten er der mumlen i mudderet, men der er også “i dur.”

Sætningen “Jeg siger dem [tingene] som jeg hører dem” går igen mange steder i “Hvordan det er”. En sætning som det forekommer mig passer fortrinligt til at beskrive Pelles måde at komponere. Han hørte ting, og så skrev han dem. Men dog ikke bare som enhver hørte dem, men som netop han hørte dem. Engang imellem vidste han godt, at han ville få ørerne i maskinen for at gøre det, men han gjorde det alligevel. Det krævede mod og til tider overvindelse, men som han for nyligt skrev til mig, “så var jeg ikke uglad over at jeg gjorde som jeg gjorde.” Og det er blandt andet det, der gør hans musik til noget særligt. For selv om han benyttede materiale, der er tilgængeligt for enhver, hvad enten det var et båthorn eller en lille stump Mozart, så kunne man høre, at det var Pelle efter han havde givet materialet en ordentlig overhaling. Det var ting, som man klart mærkede, var hørt gennem Pelles særlige ører, sat sammen, flyttet rundt og i munden på hinanden, men også hver for sig af og til, som i klaverkoncertens 2. sats, “Simpelt. Næsten ingenting.” Måske var det netop denne følelse af et menneske, som hele tiden havde sine åbne ører stift rettet mod sine omgivelser, og dermed sin samtid, som har tiltrukket sig så megen opmærksomhed fra yngre generationer.

Enhver vil hurtigt kunne høre, at min og mine kollegers musik ikke lyder som Pelles. Men det vi forhåbentlig har lært af Pelle er vigtigheden i at bevare modet, at overvinde sig selv – også selv om man skulle få ørerne i maskinen. I Pelles ånd gør vi vores bedste, for at sige tingene som vi hver især hører dem. Og i sagens natur både hører vi forskellige ting, og siger dem på forskellige måder. Måske er det lige præcis derfor, at Pelle lige til det sidste var så interesseret i vores musik. Det var ikke et spørgsmål om falsk beskedenhed eller et ønske om at “lade de unge komme til” – jeg tror ganske enkelt, det var et spørgsmål om oprigtig nysgerrighed. Forskelle til trods, var der på mange områder en stor gensidig forståelse mellem Pelle og hans yngre kolleger. Vi har mistet en åndsfælle, et stort menneske, og en af de allerstørste komponister. Han vil blive savnet.

Heldigvis har vi stadigvæk alle de musikalske ting han nåede at høre og skrive gennem sit liv, og for mit eget vedkommende ved jeg, at jeg også fremover vil komme til at tilbringe timevis af stunder med at lytte til Pelles knivskarpe mumlen i mudderet.

Rune Glerup

* * *

Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, one of our greatest composers, passed away on 27 June, 83 years old. A composer who for many decades composed music that inspired, broke away, provoked and intrigued. A composer who has had immense musical significance for the generations, perhaps most of all the younger generation of composers, that came after him. Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen published a number of works with Edition·S (at the time known as Samfundet) until all of his works were collected at Edition Wilhelm Hansen in 2012.

We asked composer Rune Glerup to write a text.

In Memory of Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen

“Murmurings in the mud.” That is the title of the seventh movement of “Plateaux”, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen’s piano concerto from 2005. It is also a quote from Samuel Beckett’s “How It Is”. I was busy with both on Monday, and that night received the news that Pelle is no longer with us. It is hard to grasp. Pelle was until very recently so full of energy and ideas that most of us looked forward to many more years with this incredible man and a long list of new works from his hand. For Pelle was the one of us, one of the young. He never reached to “grow old”, and he is probably the Danish composer who has had the greatest impact on me personally. It is my feeling that the same applies to many composers of my generation.

He probably means something different to each of us, but I think that there was something underlying with him – an understanding of music, a philosophy of life, which especially appealed to the younger generation. We perhaps grew up with the story of Pelle as the established outsider, but for us he was never an outsider. He had such a grip on the present that it was impossible to overlook. No sultry romantic pathos, no pretense – either musically or personally – no nonsense. On the other hand a wealth of ideas formulated so clearly, precisely, and without fuss that it can make any colleague envious. It could be the coarse, absurd or awkward ideas, as was often was the case with his earlier works. That is what he became known for. But it should also be noted that he had an eye for the beautiful and poetic. In the piano concerto there are “murmurings in the mud”, but there are also ones “in a major key”.

The phrase “I say them as I hear them” is repeated often in “How It Is”. A phrase that seems to me highly suitable as a way of describing Pelle’s way of composing. He heard things, and so he wrote them. Not just like any would hear them, but just as he heard them. Sometimes he knew that he would get into trouble for doing it, but did it anyway. It took courage, and was at times something to be overcome – but as he recently wrote to me, “I was not unhappy that I did as I did”. And it is precisely this that makes his music something special. For although he used material that is accessible to anyone, whether it was a car horn or a fragment of Mozart, you could hear that it was Pelle after he had given it a proper overhaul. These were things that were clearly heard through Pelle’s special ears, put together, moved around and placed on top of each other; but also occasionally, as in the second movement of the piano concerto,“Simple. Almost nothing.” Perhaps it was precisely this sense of a man who always had his ears open to his surroundings, and thus his contemporaries, which has attracted so much attention from younger generations.

Anyone will quickly be able to hear that my colleagues’ and my own music does not sound like Pelle’s. But hopefully what we have learned from Pelle is the importance of maintaining the courage to overcome oneself – even if that sometimes gets you into a little trouble. In Pelle’s spirit we each do our best to say things as we hear them. And it is in the nature of the game that we both hear different things and say them in different ways. Perhaps that is precisely why Pelle, right until the end, was so interested in our music. It was not a question of false modesty or a desire to “let the young ones come…” – I think it was simply a matter of sincere curiosity. Differences notwithstanding, there was in many respects a great mutual understanding between Pelle and his younger colleagues. We have lost a kindred spirit, a great man, and one of the greatest composers. He will be missed.

Fortunately, we still have all the musical things he reached to hear and write during the course of his life, and I, for my part, know that I will continue to spend many hours listening to Pelle’s razor-sharp “murmurings in the mud”.

Rune Glerup

English translation by Rudiger Meyer

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