Niels Rønsholdt: 'Memoriam' World Premiere

Composer Niels Rønsholdt, choreographer Tim Matiakis, dancer Marie Kaae and ensemble Scenatet, has created a universe that in a symbiosis of movement and music gives the audience an insight into a secret community, its rituals, and memories.

Memoriam, introduces an unknown community existing in an undefined past or future. The piece reminds us of the value of the communities we are part of and makes us reflect on the rituals and traditions that enable communities to pass on experiences from one time to another. Niels Rønsholdt describes the universe, that unfolds in Memoriam: “We follow a group of people in what might be a search for something or a passing of information. What it is, is not revealed to us, but we dive into a poetic exploration of memorizing and remembering”

Part of this investigation unfolds in the text of the piece, written by Rønsholdt, describing various sensory experiences, like the view of a landscape or a certain smell – described as you would list and repeat things you pass by and need to memorize. “A central element in the piece is this way of listing things,” Rønsholdt explains. “You memorize something by repeating it over and over, and the characters do that with this special recitative music that runs through the whole piece.” Like the people themselves, the world they describe is only partly recognizable to us, and the audience is free to make their own interpretations. 

Niels Rønsholdt mentions how music itself remembers and holds reminiscences and layers of time within it. “Take the violin, for instance,” Rønsholdt explains. “You can play the violin at this time and place, but the violin may have been built 100 years ago, from wood that is even older, and as a cultural element the violin is hundreds of years old.”

Memoriam has come to life in a collaborative process. “We have created this as a team,” Niels Rønsholdt states. “We have primarily taken our starting point in the elements of movement. A choreographic basic phrase is repeated throughout the piece, like a trail or a code that your body remembers. We imagined movement as a way of preserving and passing on information. I have translated the movements into rhythmical structures, and in that way, the music is partly based on the choreography rather than the other way around.”

Memoriam is premiered 25 October in Musikhuset København with additional performances 26 and 27 October.

Memoriam is initiated, commissioned, and produced by Scenatet. 

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