Photo: Malthe Folke Ivarsson
September 2017, Allan Gravgaard Madsen received an order to create a to the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Two years have passed, and Nachtmusik has emerged inspired by a late-night stroll on the streets of Aarhus.
Go to the event here.
It began with a walk in the dark
The initial inspiration of the work for Allan Gravgaard Madsen was one particular walk a February night in Aarhus. With a recorder in his hand, he discovered how new sounds emerged in the darkness of the night.
"For example, I experienced how the once so colourful harlequin-patterned entrance of Tivoli Friheden fated into one, grey surface, how blinking lights from roadblocks from Marselisborghallen was visible even further away, and how new sounds emerged in the night," says the composer.
The force behind the work not only emerges from one stroll but also a life-long fascination of the night.
"All in all, the night has always fascinated me because the night can make things seem clearer and give new meaning to things, that you don't notice during day time," he says to Danmarks Radio (read the article here).
Loneliness, longing, and poetry
In his newsletter, the composer wrote, that Nachtmusik arose from the attempt to explore three phenomenons, he associates with the night. Loneliness, longing, and poetry. Why that is, online magazine Seismograf explores in an introduction to the composer and Nachtmusik.
"I have had immense problems with restlessness in my life, and the night is a place for me to seek calmness and silence. The night has implicit loneliness. But for me, it is also full of the potential of the day to come. Maybe it is sentimental, but I am a bit of a romantic. I like the thought of longing and such. I just do not long for the past, but for the good which is to emerge with the dawn of the new day," he explains to Seismograf (read the full article here).
How loneliness, longing, poetry, and a bit of romance can transform into music, one can experience September 5th.
In 2017, Allan Gravgaard Madsen said to Magasinet Klassisk: "I often think about contours, foreground, and background. When something stands out very clearly in the musical imagery, and when it does not".
This quote resonates in the composer's description of Nachtmusik. Like the soft and calm night, Allan Gravgaard Madsen experienced with the recorder in his hand, the piece begins softly. As Madsen describes it, the piece begins with a slow ritual steady continuing forward throughout the piece. As the piece progresses, the ritual is swept in the background and in the end embraced by the orchestra.
A podcast about working closely with the performing artists
Nachtmusik is tailored to violinist Christina Åstrand and pianist Per Salo who have been working closely with Allan Gravgaard Madsen during the creation of the piece. "It is essential for me to know the musicians to whom I write," he says. You can listen to the process in which Nachtmusik was made on radio channel DR P1, who made a documentary podcast about the creation of Nachtmusik, airing just before the world premiere on September 5th. The podcast is called Allan Gravgaard Madsens natlige skaberværk, and portraits the co-work between the composer and Duo Åstrand/Salo during the two years, Nachtmusik was made.
Nachtmusik can also be experienced the day after the world premiere: September 6th 7:30 pm in DR Koncertsalen. The piece is 24 minutes and a part of the event called SIBELIUS & BANCROFT. See the event here.