Monday, 30 August 2021

Beautiful song cycle

 Beautiful song cycle by Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen (born 1952) - 'Let me tell you':

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcveHFQ6Xpo

The music is full of sounds from the period around 1900, Mahler, Debussy, Strauss - but without concrete stylistic references, and lush harmonies which hover impressionistically over, under and around the text, creating a dreamy atmosphere. The harmonies don't have a logical voice leading but float through space as recollections, as impressions of harmonies once heard but now disconnected from their original contextual framework.

But there is not much melodic material: any line is broken-up, dissolving, before the ear can follow its pattern. The result is the strange experience of painful longing combined with insurmountable reserve, like being in the presence of your lover but somehow forbidden to get closer. Also the score is sprinkled with additional sounds which are the usual 'modern' ones, as if to make sure the audience is not listening to an 'old' piece. It's longing combined with 'Berührungsangst'.

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