With his radically reduced works, Jeppe Ernst fundamentally questions our traditional ways of thinking about music, both in terms of the musical expression itself and the way it is presented to us. By removing all unnecessary layers of a work Jeppe Ernst seeks to illuminate its most essential idea, often eliminating one or more of the most basic musical parameters in the process – such as, for example, the audible sound.
Demonstrating a both open-minded and historically aware approach to composing, Jeppe Ernst is already considered one of the most original voices of his generation. At the same time, his music displays compelling social and intimate aspects as it often breaks with traditional performance practices and is performed for a single person or without the intervention of any musicians at all.
‘Private music’ is a term used by Jeppe Ernst to describe a series of works written directly for a reader or a single musician without any intention of being performed for an audience. That is the case for the 24 songs in ‘Songbook’: The first half of the songs are written for the reader’s imagination, with up to six simultaneous ‘voices’ following simple rhythmic instructions – from the imagined sound of explosions and thunder to birds crossing the sky or a child’s kiss on the cheek. The poetic character of the songs becomes more tangible in the second half of the songs, in which you are encouraged to use your body in the same kind of rhythmic patterns: by smiling, kissing into the air, bending in the knees or squeezing your buttocks, for example.
Jeppe Ernst studied composition at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. In 2017 he was named the first recipient of the Pelle Prize, awarded to ‘a young artist who dares to challenge the standards of his time’.