Pieces for organ inspired by H.C. Andersen

Friday 11 November, organist Anne Agerskov will premiere five new pieces for solo organ at Aarhus Symphonic Organ Festival. Morten Ladehoff and Line Tjørnhøj are among the featured composers.

The five pieces commissioned by Anne Agerskov all relate to H.C. Andersen’s fairytales.

Morten Ladehoff describes his piece Speilgran: “My starting point is the opening scene of The Snow Queen, where the mirror made by the devil (a mirror that distorts the world and only reflects everything grotesque) is dropped and shattered against the ground. The pieces, as small as grains of sand, spread and float around the world.”

“The scenario is reflected in the music, starting with a big explosion of a dissonant chord. After the explosion, the piece is one long reverberation, where the sound gradually calms down but at the same time crystallizes into some small fragments of melodies. These melodic fragments mirror themselves in lines of echoes - echoes that are distorted in time and pitch.”

Morten Ladehoff wrote Speilgran specifically for the organ in Aarhus Cathedral (the largest church organ in Denmark) and not least with the long reverberation in the cathedral's voluminous space in mind.

Line Tjørnhøj also had the cathedral’s space and organ in mind, when she wrote her piece, Candle, as she explains: “My idea was to link the unreality of H.C. Andersen to the cathedral space. There is an almost unreal soundscape in a cathedral, and the organ contains what you could call unreal notes. You sense the lowest notes of the organ physically with your body rather than hearing them.”

Line Tjørnhøj’s piece draws on inspiration from H.C. Andersen’s The Tallow Candle “Tallow is a foul-smelling greasy substance of which the poorest people made candles. It is difficult to ignite, but when it finally burns for a while, it has an unbelievably beautiful flame, like all other candles. In my piece, the music progresses from an attempt to make something ignite that does not really want to or is even suitable for it, and still, finally, it reaches a beautiful flame before it dies down again.

Besides from Morten Ladehoff and Line Tjørnhøj, the concert features new pieces by Wayne Siegel, Signe Lykke and Willy Stolarczyk.

The concert takes place during Aarhus Symphonic Organ Festival Friday 11 November, 21:30 in Aarhus Cathedral. Entrance is free. Find more information here >>

The classical music blog Klassisk bureau interviewed Anne Agerskov about the concert. Read the interview here (in Danish) >>