Gudmundsen-Holmgreen - Green Ground | Dacapo 8226153

Gudmundsen-Holmgreen - Green Ground


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Label: Dacapo

Cat No: 8226153

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 2nd September 2016



This album presents the world premiere recording of a unique new set of pieces by Danish composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen (1932-2016), written and dedicated to his Grammy-winning playmates in the Kronos Quartet and Theatre of Voices with conductor Paul Hillier. Using a text from Henry VIII’s Songbook and taking musical inspiration from the old ‘ground’ technique and from a certain famous Baroque canon, Green Ground offers a kaleidoscopic trip through the enchanting world of PGH, offering independent layers of playful sounds for strings and voices and then merging them together to the accompaniment of wooden percussion instruments.

Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen was one of the most striking composers from northern Europe over the past half-century – a unique personality and a major figure in Danish musical life, even though he considered himself to be an outsider.

He was born in 1932 and had his debut as a composer in 1955. In his early works, Gudmundsen-Holmgreen was inspired by such figures as Nielsen, Bartók and Stravinsky. Around 1960, he became a leading figure within ‘the new simplicity’: laconic music which nevertheless, in Gudmundsen-Holmgreen’s hands, could be extremely ambiguous. Equivocality and a provocative absurdity are recurrent features of his production. As he himself formulated it: ‘I often write music that cannot make up its mind, and that is deliberate.’

The material in Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen’s music was often extremely restricted. Motifs and sound elements are repeated and displayed without mercy, since confrontation for him was artistically speaking the salt of life. This led both to violent clashes and to completely static, eventless modes of expression.

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