Messiaen Quartet premieres Tjørnhøj

On February 8th the Messiaen Quartet Copenhagen will premiere the piece 'TO HAVE TO' by Danish composer Line Tjørnhøj.

Photo: Anders Bigum

Line Tjørnhøj's new piece 'TO HAVE TO' reflects on what happens when central aspects of our existence break down, and on the rituals that we build our life on and meet around. The title of the piece refers to the traditional Christian wedding vow and thus asks the question: what do you have to hold on to when it really counts? 

Line Tjørnhøj illustrates this with the musicians, their instruments and their musical 'rituals' established throughout a lifetime. A minor scale carries the piece forward while the violinist and the cellist whistle and blow into the f-holes of the instruments, creating a percussive, pulsating breath. As a symbol of an elementary breakdown, Line Tjørnhøj deconstructs the piano. She takes apart the keyboard and the soundboard and lets the pianist play on keys that are only partially connected to the soundboard.

The bass clarinet, violin and piano move through the four movements LULLABY, COURAGE, TRANSITION and GIGUE in varying tempi, but the cello wanders through the whole life cycle of the piece in a calm and steady 4/4 beat. Every now and then they all meet on a downbeat, and in these glimpses the music becomes whole.

Messiaen Quartet Copenhagen

'TO HAVE TO' is commissioned by Messiaen Quartet Copenhagen. The concert on 8 February has the title 'Religion' and also on the programme for the evening is Olivier Messiaen's moving 'Quartet for the End of Time'.

Friday February 8th 19:30
Messiaen Quartet Copenhagen
Østerbro Koncertforeninge, Copenhagen (DK)
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