Premiere · Mette Nielsen String Quartets to be performed at Bornholm's Music Festival

Mette Nielsen has composed a second piece for string quartet, reflecting on the relation between music and time. The piece will be premiered by the Nordic String Quartet at Bornholm’s Music Festival in July.

Mette Nielsen · Photo by Soffi Chanchira Larsen

The Nordic String Quartet will, on Thursday 23 July, premiere Mette Nielsen’s latest piece Forestilling om et fastfrosset øjeblik (Notion of a Frozen Moment) and perform her first string quartet; String Quartet in One Movement (2012) at The Art Museum of Bornholm.

Mette Nielsen has been selected as Composer of the Year at Bornholm’s Music Festival this year, with the privilege of curating a concert for an ensemble of her choosing, both selecting the concert programme and composing pieces for the event.

“Bornholm’s Music Festival asked me to choose pieces by composers that meant something to me, and Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen was an obvious choice. So I asked the Nordic String Quartet because they have performed Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen’s music so well on their recording of his first six string quartets. The festival was also pleased with my choice since Pelle is a former ‘Composer of the Year’ at the festival.”

Mette Nielsen received the Pelle Prize in 2019, an award named after Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, who has been a great inspiration to her. After receiving the award she said explained that: “…it is a very special thing to be associated with Pelle in this way, receiving an award with his name. Pelle’s music is a great source of inspiration for me – it is characterized by integrity and clarity.”

As for Mette Nielsen’s latest string quartet, another composer has provided the initial source of inspiration:

“The piece started with the idea of using fermatas in order to make the music ‘stand still’. I was inspired by Frej Wedlund’s Plasticity which I heard at Nordic Music Days last year. The piece ended with a one-minute long fermata, and it made me want to compose a piece with a whole lot of fermatas. So straight ahead I began making time-schemes which I could place the music into. I wanted to create a development where one zooms in on smaller and smaller parts of the music, which at the same time become slower and slower. So there are two simultaneous movements, the shorter sections and the slower music.”

Working with the increasingly shorter and slower sections in the music, Nielsen reflects on a hypothetical idea.

“It would be amazing if you were able to stop time and walk around in the music. Watch and listen to all the musical elements from different angles – like visiting a museum. That’s where the title comes from. Because of course there can only be an imagination – it’s not possible in real life. The piece is a kind of translation from the imaginative idea, to a piece of music that exists in time.”

Later that evening, the Nordic String Quartet will perform Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen’s String Quartet no. 1, Andante (1959) and String Quartet no. 2, Quartetto Facile (1959) as well as Jean Sibelius’ Voces Intimae, Op. 56 (1909).

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Mette Nielsen (b. 1985) studied at The Danish Royal Academy of Music and the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus and has received several prizes and awards, amongst which the Pelle Prize, The Axel Borup-Jørgensen Composer’s Prize, Carl Nielsen and Anne Marie Carl-Nielsen’s Grant and more…

Read more about the composer

Forestilling om et fastfrosset øjeblik (2020) will be published by Edition·S.