Jeppe Ernst world premiere: Nocturnes (for a human body)

On Wednesday 17 May, Kalle Hakosalo and Erica Giacoletto will premiere Jeppe Ernst's work Nocturnes (for a human body).

The silent work is composed for physical movements and is written for one male and one female performer. The idea for Nocturnes (for a human body) arose at a time when the composer suffered from insomnia. The performers carry out the various movements lying on the floor, and the work unfolds as four so-called routines – like standard moves in the world of ballet. "The idea is that you have to go through these routines to fall asleep," says Jeppe Ernst and continues, "but it doesn't work." He has given the four movements titles marking different time intervals to indicate the strange sense of time that occurs when one lies awake all night. In the last movement, the two performers lie on their stomachs face down and you can imagine how they scream into their pillows in frustration.

In 2019, Jeppe Ernst wrote Nocturnes (for a human mind), that his new piece relates to. Nocturnes (for a human mind) is written for the imagination and is a kind of notated dreams, and whereas the piece for the human body is written for those who are awake, the piece for the imagination is written for those who are asleep.

Jeppe Ernst has written a large number of works for physical movement and touch, and he explains that a common feature of many of his works is that he wants to make the musicians appear divine, by letting them do artificial, non-human things. "Both in ancient Egyptian art and in icon painting, you see a stiff and square representative of the divine," says Jeppe Ernst and continues: "but it is still represented by human figures. I find that duality very fascinating.” It is in this field of tension between the artificial and the human that Jeppe Ernst's works exist. "What I do can easily be perceived as a hippie-Buddha-something with the touch and the silence. Therefore it must have a counterpoint in something very artificial. I want it to be a bit claustrophobic for the musicians, like a prison they're in while they're performing the piece.

Nocturnes (for a human body) can be experienced for the first time at the Turku Art Museum in Finland on 17 May and subsequently on 19 May at the Kuntsi Art Museum. On September 19, the work is performed as a part of Kalle Hakosalo's debut concert at the Royal Danish Academy of Music.

Find more information about the performance in Turku here.

Find the scores for Jeppe Ernst's works here.