Christian Winther Christensen · Seismograf interview

Andrew Mellor has interviewed Christian Winther Christensen in the online magazine Seismograf about a prestigious award ceremony, the composer’s works and the influence of the corona-shutdown on Klang Festival, and the desire and inspiration to compose.

Christian Winther Christensen · Photo: Mette Kramer Kristensen

“Christensen has forgone a lot this year in addition to Klang,” Andrew Mellor states and points to the prestigious Kunstpreis Berlin, Christensen should have accepted for his Piano Concerto (2018) in March. Mellor describes the work as “… archetype Christensen: it lures its listeners into a charming and distinctive hinterland, one that drapes a blanket of quietness over a mass of precise detail. Focus and clarity reign supreme; every gesture is weighed and refined”.

The interview moves on to a conversation about Christian Winther Christensen’s works and his compositional tools.

“The tilt-shift musical worlds Christensen’s music creates are beautiful, charming and wholly original. Countless times, I have witnessed them ease the atmosphere of a room during a self-regarding contemporary music festival. Behind all the scraping, twanging, flicking and clicking, Christensen uses melody and tonal harmony exquisitely. Poul Ruders sang a quotation of the chorale tune from Christensen’s Sextet (2014) when his younger colleague came up in conversation recently. ‘Three or four minutes [six] and that’s it – but isn’t it brilliant? He uses the melody in an entirely new way but he knows exactly how to use it. And exactly when to stop.’”

The conversation about the music leads to the influence the corona-crisis has had on Christensen as a composer.

“‘It’s strange, but in some ways in the last two months I have forgotten a little how to be a composer. I have lost my identity a little. It’s a very long time since I heard my own music being performed. If you don’t hear your own music being played, you know…’ ” the composer says.

The lack of live-music has not only affected Christian Winther Christensen as a composer but also as the festival’s Artistic Director. Whereas Christensen should have opened the festival this month, the corona-crisis has caused the festival to be postponed until 30 October – 8 November, and the festival becoming “more Danish, less international”.

Read the interview in English or in Danish

View the scores of the works mentioned in the article

Viola Concerto (2019)

Piano Concerto (2018)

Four Hyper-Realistic Songs (2014-2015)

Chromatische Weltmusik (2013)

Andante con moto (2010)

A Fall from the Perfect Ground (2006)

Heiliger Dankgesang (2006)