Several premieres and performances by Matias Vestergård

Last week, Matias Vestergård’s opera, LISBON FLOOR won the prestigious Reumert Award, but the composer does not rest on his laurels, and the upcoming week brings no less than three world premieres and one additional performance of his works.

On Monday 19 June, the movie The Chosen One is premiered in Grand Teatret, Copenhagen. It is the debut movie by director Louis Francisco C. Vernal and Matias Vestergård wrote the score. The Chosen One is described as a dance thriller with a bitter taste of cultism and psychological terror. A group of young dancers is isolated in a remote estate by a starlight choreographer to create a piece about a sacrificial ritual in a setting that looks more than anything like a sacrificial ritual. 

Find more information here.

On Wednesday 21 June, TRINITATIS MOTETTER is premiered by Trinitatis Kantori. The work consists of four psalm excerpts commissioned by organist and cantor Søren Christian Vestergaard and Trinitatis Kantori on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the choir. 

Matias Vestergård explains the work: “I have used some of the oldest Danish translations of David's Psalms, namely Christian III's Danish Bible from 1550. I chose this edition rather than a more recent translation due to the beauty of the text and the exalted atmosphere that the slightly foreign language brings to the messages of the Psalms. I have selected key passages from the Psalms and modernized the spelling for readability.” Matias Vestergård points out, that the old, religious texts get an ever-so-relevant sub-text in the light of current issues. “The texts of the first two motets revolve around aspects of uncontrollable rising water or sinking into deep waters,” he says and adds that the biblical texts are filled with images that he has tried to interpret into musical images.

Find more information about the performance of TRINITATIS MOTETTER here.

Thursday 22 June the Copenhagen-based festival Festival & Friends is kicked off, and Matias Vestergård is composer in residence in 2023 and 2024. In 2023 this entails the world premiere of the song cycle KRISER written for soprano, vocal trio, trombone, piano and four violins.

In the programme note of the work, Matias Vestergård writes: “All the words come from the landmark novel "Krisehæfter" by Danish author Ursula Andkjær Olsen. In reading the book, I was struck by the pure force of the text and fascinated by the way it almost washes over the reader, overwhelming with both fury and beauty and not always leaving enough time for every sentence to be understood. In my setting of these words, I've tried to bring some of the same energy into the music. The piece developed into something like a surreal plot-less miniature opera, and for that reason, I've joined forces with amazing director Johan Klint Sandberg to present a simple staging to investigate the dramaturgical potential of the work."

Matias Vestergård explains that since he first read the novel, he has wanted to work with that text in his music, and when he contacted Ursula Andkjær Olsen, she told him that she had been hoping that someone would make a performance based on that text.

"Krisehæfter is a comprehensive novel, from which I have only used quite a few pages in this work," says Matias Vestergård, and adds that he intends to continue working with texts from the novel in several future works. 

KRISER is premiered by Freja Højland Høj, soprano; Vocal group ilinx; Annaroosa Lampela, trombone; Anna Agafia, violin; Bartosz Skibiński, violin; Ludvig Gudim, violin; Michael Germer, violin; Gustav Piekut, piano; Gustav Sønksen, conductor and Johan Klint Sandberg, stage director.  Find more information here.

Saturday 24 June, the piece MY HOPE IS DECAYED is performed at Festival & Friends by Trio Spell.

"The piece consists of four different but coherent movements. A childishly playful approach to the instruments characterizes all the movements, except for the third, which is the work's serious centrepiece," writes Matias Vestergård in the work's program note, elaborating that the playful element is expressed, among other things, in that each movement has its own rules dictating what each of the instruments can and must do - a small, fixed vocabulary of techniques that can be used - just like the rules of a game. "In the first two movements, the sound of a wheel-of-fortune-like ticking dominates, and in the last movement, an instrument rarely heard in classical music: the oil barrel," says Vestergård.

The title of the work comes from a small viola da gamba piece by the English baroque composer Captain Tobias Hume — the melody of that piece is quoted at the end of the last movement.

Find more information about the performance here.