Quarterly Focus

April 2022: the release of the album Nordic Broken

Release: April 8, 2022, Nordic Broken for clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and live electronics (Max) at Cosmopol Music Group. Broken as nature can break ground, rock, and tree. Broken as the unavoidable decay, a prerequisite for new life. Broken as the mind can be burdened with grief. To be broken, that is, to be humble, for example, towards the beauty of nature. Nordic Broken is dedicated to and commissioned by Messiaen Quartet Copenhagen, composed with support from the Danish Arts Foundation. The release is supported by Koda Kultur

https://music.apple.com/dk/album/nordic-broken/1613269421

Nordic Broken (2020, 19 min.) is conceived in a larger work cycle, The Nordic Series, including Nordic Fragments (2021, 23.30 min.) and Nordic Extraction (2021, 29 min.). They have in common the use of the piano and live electronics and are inspired by life in Scandinavia. The work series itself is characterized by music with Nordic moods. It is the dawning morning that looms hopefully in the east. And the melancholy dusk when the sun colors the northern sky in red-orange colors. Spring and Autumn with morning and evening shadows reminiscent of the elasticity of life. The ecstatic bright summer nights, and the pensive long winter evenings. Morning mist over the field bug, the calm glitter of the water in the moonlight. The powerful greenery of spring, the explosion of Autumn in diverse colors, the bright light of winter, the long warm evenings of Summer.

January 2022: Harmonices Mundi, score finished January 1

Harmonices Mundi – Celestial Bodies – String Quartet No. 6 (2021, 31 min)
for string quartet & live electronics (Max)
Commissioned by and dedicated to Rudersdal Chamber Players
With support from Koda Kultur & Augustinus Fonden
World premiere by Rudersdal Chamber Players,
Friday, February 18 at 19:30 in MillFactory Studio, Copenhagen

Harmonices Mundi (the harmony of the world) is inspired by Johannes Kepler’s book written in Latin (1599-1619) of the same name. I try to interpret Harmonices Mundi as tones and timbre that can interact with human consciousness in the present – so to speak, a spiritual communication. When Kepler uses the term harmony, it refers not only to the musical definition but rather to a broader definition that includes congruence in nature and the influence between celestial bodies and the earth. Kepler is interested in how polyhedrons (three-dimensional geometric shapes basically consisting of triangles) can reflect a connection between the planets’ orbital curves. These polyhedra can form the small and great stellated dodecahedron, later called Kepler’s solids or Kepler Polyhedra. They can appear as regular or semi-regular. Therefore, in my interpretation, I especially use semiregular harmonic symmetries in different structural layers in the music. Perfect musical symmetries often seem sluggish or boring to listen to, which is why I am attracted to the semiregular. I have instrumented the geometric as different polygons in harmonic structures.

In Kepler’s time, the known celestial bodies in addition to the sun and moon were the five planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The five core movements in my work have titles after the names of these planets. The movements are surrounded by six solar and lunar movements that belong together in pairs, thus the work begins with a solar movement and it ends with a lunar movement – a total of 11 movements. In this way, my musical interpretation is closely linked to a mythological understanding of the five classical planets as well as sun and moon, which is why the subtitle Celestial Bodies: The movements are: Sol 1 – Mercury – Luna 1 (Moon) – Venus – Sol 2 – March – Luna 2 – Iuppiter (Jupiter) – Sol 3 – Saturnus (Saturn) – Luna 3.

Mercury (Latin: Mercurius) is in Roman mythology the god of communication, speed, and trade, in Greek mythology he corresponds to the god of Hermes. He is a messenger on the border between worlds. The C Locrian is used in a canon between viola and cello that is imitated inverted in the second and first violin in C Lydian.

Venus is the Roman goddess of love, fertility, desire, prosperity, victory, and beauty, similar to Aphrodite in Greek mythology. The movement is a love song between viola and first violin in E minor, which towards the end is taken over by E Phrygian.

Mars is the god of war and the guardian of agriculture in Roman mythology, the Greek god Ares and the Nordic god Týr. It is a piece of repetitive music in F Lydian / D Dorian, out of this grows a tonal answered three-part fugue with countersubject in D Dorian, then follows a development section, where the electronic processing plays the main role until a compressed recapitulation, where the exposition’s material goes through F Lydian / D Dorian, E Phrygian / C Ionian and ending with G Mixolydian / E Phrygian.

Jupiter (Latin: Iuppiter) is the king of the gods, the god of heaven and thunder, corresponding to the Greek god Zeus and partly to the Nordic god Thor. The supreme god is interpreted in an almost renaissance-sounding contrapuntal movement, presenting a theme in its original and inverted form in canon with the same theme in retrograde and retrograde inversion. This movement is followed by a Coda, in which the electronic processing is highlighted by solo elements in E minor harmonically set opposite its symmetrical scale: an A major with the lowered sixth degree.

Saturn (Latin: Saturnus) is in Roman mythology the god of agriculture, generation, dissolution, abundance, wealth, periodic renewal, and liberation. He corresponds to Cronus in Greek mythology. The movement focuses on renewal in a homophone texture, where the melodic motifs constantly shed new light on simple harmonic shifts.

The movements of the sun and the moon are the antithesis of each other, where the sun (Greek: Helios) is explosive, then the moon (Greek: Selene) is implosive. Sun is day and the absence of sun is night in that way light is opposite to darkness. The movements have an imperfect symmetry between the two violins towards viola and cello. In the first pair, A Dorian is used, which is its own inversion, in the second pair the violins are in B Phrygian versus its inversion in the deep strings B major, in the third pair the violins are in G major, while viola and cello are the mirrored tonality Eb Phrygian.

October 2021: The Nordic Series is composed, it consists of three works:

Nordic Broken (2020, 19 min) – for clarinet, violin, cello, piano, Max
With support from the Danish Arts Foundation
Commissioned by and dedicated to Messiaen Quartet Copenhagen

Nordic Fragments (2021, 23:30 min) – violin, cello, piano, Max
With support from the Koda Kultur & Augustinus Fonden
Commissioned by and dedicated to Trio Ismena

Nordic Extraction (2021, 29 min) – violin, viola, cello, piano, Max
With support from Koda Kultur & Augustinus Fonden
Commissioned by and dedicated to Rudersdal Chamber Players

The Nordic Series has in common the use of the piano and live electronics (Max), and are inspired by life in Scandinavia. The work series itself is characterized by music with Nordic moods. It is the dawning morning that looms hopefully in the east. And the melancholy dusk when the sun colors the northern sky in red-orange colors. Spring and Autumn with morning and evening shadows reminiscent of the elasticity of life. The ecstatic endless bright summer nights, and the endless pensive long winter evenings. Morning mist over the field bug, the calm glitter of the water in the moonlight. The powerful greenery of spring, the explosion of Autumn in diverse colors, the bright light of winter, the long warm evenings of Summer.

September 2021: Performance of Danish Golden Age Pieces

September 2 at National Gallery of Denmark, AFSMK‘s event for business leaders: Art as Your Future Business Tool, performed by Josefine Opsahl, cello; Ejnar Kanding, piano

August 2021: Texture and Mosaics II is released at COSMOPOL music group

The link below to your favorite streaming platform

https://orcd.co/texturesandmosaics2

July 2021: Concert at Deià International Music Festival, Mallorca

World premiere of Partita Mallorca – Sonata da Camera como Arcangelo Corelli (2018, 10 min) for Camerata Deià (Alfredo Ardanaz, violin; Dana Zemtsov, viola; Jorge Giménez, cello; Alfredo Oyágüez, piano)

June 2021: After the corona lockdown, a series of world premieres

June 1: Nordic Fragments (2021, 23:30 min) for Trio Ismena (Monika Malmquist, violin; Ida Nørholm, cello; Christine Raft, piano)

June 3: VANITAS (2021, 17:15 min) for Inventions (Cæcilie Balling, violin; Josefine Opsahl, cello)

June 4: Eau claire eau (2019, 9 min) for Duo ConCordis (Irina-Kalina Goudeva, double bass; George Vassilev, guitar)

August 13: Garden of Gethsemane – Hommage à Arne Haugen Sørensen (2021, 15:45 min) for Contemporánea (Fritz Gerhard Berthelsen, bass clarinet; Ida Nørholm, cello; Ejnar Kanding, piano)

May 2021: New piece for percussion to Christian Martinez

As a part of an artistic research project at the Danish National Academy of Music, I’m happy for the opportunity to work with the excellent percussionist Christian Martinez for a new composition with live electronics (Max) with a new approach to the use of live tracking. How can data from pitch tracking and amplitude/attack tracking be used to control parameters where a degree of tolerance for values has been incorporated so that the artistic intention is fulfilled with acceptance variability between each performance.

April 2021: Hvilens Vande – Still Waters

Still Waters was written for my beloved mother for her funeral in 2014, it is now available on Spotify and Apple Music, and your preferred streaming platform. I recorded the piece shortly after the funeral, Kasper Nybo has in connection with the release made this fantastic video for the music

March 2021: Nine Waves

The title of Ejnar Kanding‘s string quartet Nine Waves refers to the nine types of waves, who are the maidens of Ægir and Rán in Norse mythology. Ægir is a sea giant, the god of the ocean and king of the sea. Ægir’s wife is Rán the sea goddess. She is by Ægir mother of nine billow maidens. Through the nine movements, the music evolves from the quiet waves to the frothing, into the deep, further to the pitching waves, and finally the dark. In this way, the music changes from the whispering to the flowing, through the deep meditation to the feeling of some ancient origin, and in the end the lonely fighter on the dark and giant ocean.

Nine Waves was written in 2013. Find the score here >>

The album is available on Spotify, Apple Music, and various other streaming services. Find it here >>

February 2021: Textures & Mosaics, volume 2

Now is the score of Textures & Mosaics, volume 2 available at Edition•S. Many thanks to David Rosing-Schow for his enormous work doing the layout so nicely. It has been a fantastic journey through these years composing the 34 minutes of music and developing the MaxMSP programming, descriptions, and documentation.

Please listen to the amazing ACME string quartet on this recording we did in Bunker Studio, Brooklyn,

and have a look at the score:

https://www.edition-s.dk/music/ejnar-kanding/textures-mosaics-vol-2

Textures & Mosaics is music for string quartet and live electronics (MaxMSP) composed by Ejnar Kanding. The pieces express a nordic atmosphere which is underlined in the subtitles Obscure Transparence and Sensitive Shades.

Textures & Mosaics is recorded by ACME String Quartet (NYC) in Bunker Studio, Brooklyn, May 2019. Production, mix, and master by Ejnar Kanding. The music is supported by the Danish Arts Foundation.

Obscure Transparence refers to the morning fog covering a marsh during sunrise as the sun slowly penetrates and the light is separated into a plentitude of dancing drops. Sensitive Shades can picture the richness of the colours in the sky of a melancholic sunset. The music is progressive uniting electronic and acoustic sound in complex textures, bodily energy, and delicate simplicity. It pushes the boundaries of the beautiful and insists on being static in a way in which it leans toward the dark ambient music genre.

The ambient and the static are explored through complex or multifaceted textures. Every movement focuses on either texture or mosaic in its essence. The texture-pieces are characterized by a conjunctive line in a multi-layered structure while the mosaic movements (Mosaico) focus on isolated fragments, appearing in diverse surroundings or merely existing as a purpose on its own.

Textures & Mosaics is a work series of independent pieces of varying formation which when performed together constitute a coherent entity. The first, third, and fifth movements are composed for four strings titled Obscure Transparence 1-3, while the second movement is a trio for violin, viola, and cello, and the fourth movement is a duo for viola (or violin) and cello titled Sensitive Shades 1-2.

  • Mosaico 2 – Obscure Transparence 1 (2013) – string quartet & Max
  • Commissioned by and dedicated to JACK quartet. Supported by the Danish Arts Foundation. World premiere at The Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen, November 7, 2013, by JACK quartet. Dur. 11′
  • Texture 2 – Sensitive Shades 1 (2016) – string trio & Max
  • Commissioned by SIGGI quartet (ISL) and dedicated to ACME quartet. Supported by the Danish Arts Foundation. World premiere at Le Poisson Rouge, NYC, October 6, 2016, by ACME quartet. Dur. 7′
  • Texture 3 – Obscure Transparence 2 (2017) – string quartet & Max
  • Commissioned by SONAR Quartett (DE) and dedicated to ACME quartet. Supported by the Danish Arts Foundation. World premiere at Le Poisson Rouge, NYC, May 7, 2019, by ACME quartet. Dur. 8′
  • Mosaico 3 – Sensitive Shades 2 (2018) – string duo & Max
  • for viola, cello and live electronics (Max) or for violin, cello, and live electronics (Max). World premiere at Admiral Gjeddes Gaard, Holbergsalen, November 17, 2018 by Helianne Blais, violin and Ida Nørholm, cello. Dur. 5′
  • Texture 5 – Obscure Transparence 3 (2016) – string quartet & Max
  • Commissioned by SIGGI quartet (ISL) and dedicated to ACME quartet. Supported by the Danish Arts Foundation. World premiere at Le Poisson Rouge, NYC, October 6, 2016, by ACME quartet. Dur. 3′

The structure and idea of Textures and Mosaics, volume 1 and 2 are similar apart from the instrumentation. As a whole, they constitute a work cycle on ten movements: Texture 1-5 and Mosaico 1-5. The instrumentation has the same structure in both volumes: Volume 1 is for chamber ensemble: clarinet (Bb, bass), percussion, piano, violin, cello, and live electronics. The first, third, and fifth movement is for a full ensemble, while the second is a duo, and the fourth a trio. This also applies to the durations, which are 11, 7, 8, 5, and 3 minutes, counting 34 minutes in total for each volume. Any combination of the movements works well for a performance.

Furthermore Obscure Transparence 1-3 constitute Kanding’s String Quartet No. 5.

January 2021: Schichtstruktur (2016), premiered by Richard Krug, cello, in January 2017

Schicht is German and means layer, deposit, field. The title refers to several layers or depositions in a structure, that in this piece creates a field of three developments with a common harmonic structure. My approach to live electronics in this piece is, that no other sound occurs than, what is derived directly from the played cello. What is heard comes from the cello, nothing else sounds. It shows, how amazing the computer in real-time can contribute to musical expression.

My piece is dedicated to the cellist Richard Krug, who premiered it in the Copenhagen Phil concert Friday, January 27, 2017, at the concert hall of the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Written with support from the Danish Arts Foundation and Copenhagen Phil. Cover photo by Anne Sandner.

December 2020: My latest album at Soundcloud uploaded March 2020

December 2020: The single Nine Waves – Deep

Available at Spotify and Apple Music from December 4, 2020

Nine Waves – Deep is the third movement of the work Nine Waves featuring Nordic String Quartet.

The title Nine Waves refers to the nine types of waves, who are the maidens of Ægir and Rán. In Norse mythology, Ægir is a sea giant, the god of the ocean and king of the sea. Ægir’s wife is Rán the sea goddess. She is by Ægir mother of nine billow maidens. One of these waves, that I am composing in Nine Waves – Deep is called Himinglæva; it means ‘the heaven-shining one, the transparent one’. Focus is the static sound, constantly mirrored in the reverberation. Behind the transparency, one can sense the eternal.

Nine Waves is supported by the Danish Arts Foundation.