Niels Rønsholdt, Aavaat and Athelas Sinfonetta Copenhagen. Photo: Dennis Lehmann
“Falling Awake is food for thought,” the Danish newspaper Politiken writes in its 4-star review of the world premiere of Lasse Schwanenflügel Piasecki’s long-awaited opera. “As a work of art Falling Awake is highly successful – both disconcerting and clever. Life is a spinning wheel, and not everyone can win, but many newcomers to contemporary music are likely to get a surprisingly substantial and moving experience from spending an hour in the dark with the characters of Falling Awake.”
Another Danish newspaper, Information, also brings a full-page review of the “bleak yet beautiful opera on incest and other perversions”. The reviewer praises Schwanenflügel Piasecki’s simple compositions and concludes that Falling Awake shows “great artistic coherence” and that it “thanks to its aesthetics manages to confront a taboo in a moving way”.
The Swedish newspaper Ystads Allehanda was also present at Folketeatret in Copenhagen: “In addition to its imaginatively eclectic mix of mechanical birds, visuals and experimental voices, Falling Awake’s strength was its both charmingly straightforward and beautifully crisp sound world, in which children’s songs, pop music, Asian-like references and more were combined into a fine neo-Impressionistic music.”
Civilizations and MONO
Another world premiere at the KLANG Festival was Niels Rønsholdt’s Civilizations, performed by himself, the Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen and the Greenlandic choir Aavaat – and transmitted live on Danish radio. In its 5-star review, the Danish newspaper Berlingske writes: “The art world thrives on pieces like this. The young composers confront the past and create music about the future. Rønsholdt’s technique is somewhat similar to Gavin Bryars’ canonical Jesus’ blood never failed me yet, but Civilizations is more moving and free of sentimentality. Be sure to give it a listen!”
In the aforementioned Ystads Allehanda article we also find a review of Simon Steen-Andersen’s MONO (2014), performed by the Plus-Minus Ensemble: “Simon Steen Andersen, perhaps the most celebrated Danish composer today, usually includes non-musical references in his music, but the music is always at the center. And it is always insanely elegant. Mono for autotuned voice is perhaps the best example of how the study of the musical material changes our perception when we experience the performance at the same time. When the solo voice was performed live with autotune man became a machine.”