JAKOB DAVIDSEN (b.1969): The World is Babel and Ivory, Cruel to be Kind, Closer.
Catalogue Number: 03V069
Description: Difficult to classify, but immensely approachable, Davidsen's music draws heavily on jazz - not least in his incorporation of improvisation from his collaborators in his otherwise notated scores - but also on a range of modern styles and techniques from concert music. In very general terms, an amalgam of jazz and popular idioms with the confrontational style of Louis Andriessen and the pulsating energy of the Bang on a Can composers underlies much of the music, but extended and noise textures, whether derived from the avant-garde or avant-garde jazz, also spice up the mixture. Babel and Ivory (as in towers) explores texts from Ursula Andkjær Olsen's collection of poems Third-Millennium heart, with their shifting perspectives between the most intimate and personal, and the confusing multiple viewpoints of society. The opening of the work is a percussive shock, immediately followed by a gentle, lyrical presentation of the first part of the text, then pulsating rhythm that begins on the concert stage and transitions to the jazz club. The second movement is a ballad with something of Weill or Krenek and something of cabaret about it, with a regular waltz-like pulse. Then a moving lyrical movement with an abstract, textural accompaniment; a declamatory recitative followed by a catchy rhythmic section with an 'oriental' Duke Ellington feel; the spare, simple and moving song of a mother with her unborn child, with an interlude of fragile gestures; and a final return to chaos. As a prelude and postlude to the main work, a gentle, melodic setting of a fragment of Shakespeare embedded in raucous thudding rhythmic episodes, with a softly cradle-rocking instrumental lullaby coda (and a final slap from the abrasive opening just to catch you off guard); and a neo-romantic Lied to a text by Ole Sarvig. Texts included. Signe Asmussen (soprano), FIGURA Ensemble, Jakob Davidsens Chamber Orchestra.