Niels Rønsholdt Country Album

With 'Country', Niels Rønsholdt reimages the country genre as a concerto for singing solo cellist and chamber orchestra. On Friday 19 November, the work is released as an album.

The lonesome cowboy is sitting by a blazing fire on the prairie. With lowered gaze, he holds his guitar in his hand. On his lips, melancholic ballads with titles such as We Don't Ride the Same Horse, Man of Honor and Gone Like a Turkey Through the Corn. 

With the cello concerto Country, written for singing solo cellist and chamber orchestra, Niels Rønsholdt (b. 1978) is exploring and paraphrasing the American country music with all its stereotypes. The result is a very expressive work with a characteristic sound of Rønsholdt.

In Country, we hear Jakob Kullberg's extraordinary ability to play the cello ‘alla chitarra’, like a guitar, and his fine voice when he's singing the 18 ballad-like songs. Featured on the album is also the Polish Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej conducted by Szymon Bywalec, as well as vocalist Annekei and Rønsholdt himself. 

Find more info, order or stream the album at Dacapo Records here >>

Genre experiments

Country is an example of Niels Rønsholdt's ‘method composing’ approach. In many of his compositions, Rønsholdt is working deliberately with material that is not linked to his personal taste, his age or compositional expertise such as the country genre.

The music in Country swings back and forth between music which resembles pop and folk elements, the Romantic symphonic orchestral tradition and material which sounds closer to a film soundtrack.

When the listener is beginning to feel ‘at home’ in a particular musical idiom, the character changes. A mysterious sampler voice appears, a simple melody is changed into a text piece in an unending loop and the intimate country song becomes a jumble of various instrumental voices.

Internationally praised soloist in a prize-winning work

Earlier this year, Niels Rønsholdt received the Danish Carl Prisen 2021 for Country. The album is recorded by multitalented cellist Jakob Kullberg, who is acknowledged for transcending the established notion of ‘the classical cellist’ as well as his performances of contemporary cello concertos. Jakob Kullberg was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize 2021.

Take a look behind the scenes of Country with interviews with Jakob Kullberg and Niels Rønsholdt.