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JEXPER HOLMEN - DANISH COMPOSER

NEWS

The opera De Mørkeblå Lillakvinder i Villakvartererne has been awarded by the Danish Art Council 

Every year in december a number of works are awarded by the Danish Art Council. In 2019 the opera De Mørkeblå Lillakvinder i Villakvartererne ("The Dark Blue Lilacwomen in the Residential Neighbourghoods") by Jexper Holmen was one of nine pieces of music that was awarded with 80.000 DKR each. The motivation for the award sounds like this:

"A ruthless opera piece by Jexper Holmen. With usual consequence Holmen has created a sound picture where heavy cluster-like chords from the orchestra follow the singers as a deadweight of ‘the unconscious’ throughout the one and a half hour long opera performance. Holmen has resisted every temptation to draw psychological profiles of the characters or to quote Wagner on the occasion of the lyrics and its many references to German romanticism. The heavy breathing music rather creates a shadow image of what the singers try to express in the action-packed libretto. A clash between ritual and storytelling. A strong and challenging work from a composer who pursues his vision all the way."

Read the motivation in Danish here.

ABOUT JEXPER HOLMEN
LIST OF WORKS AVAILABLE FROM EDITION.S
TORBEN SANGILD OM JEXPER HOLMENS VÆRKER (in Danish)


Jexper Holmen // Copenhagen, Denmark
Cell: +45 2511 3534 // jx(ad)jexperholmen.dk

WATCH

CONCERTS COMING UP

Concerts featuring music by Jexper Holmen:

6th of november 4 PM in Stavnsholtkirken, Farum, Denmark
Duo Diagonal (Adam Ørvad and Anka Zlateva) play En Krig Mod Humlebier (2021) for accordion and hapsichord.

8th of november in Aalborg, Denmark
Duo Diagonal (Adam Ørvad and Anka Zlateva) play En Krig Mod Humlebier (2021) for accordion and hapsichord.

LISTEN

Tension III: DISEMBARRASS (2002) for ring modulated trio of saxophone, accordion and double bass. Played by POING. 
Night Pace (2004) for processed trio of clarinet, vibraphone and violoncello. Played by MooseMATRIX.
Prefer (2001) for accordion and electronics. Played by Frode Andersen,
laughing out loud inhaling the SCARLET SPLEEN (...fade to black) (2004) for accordion and electronics. Played by Frode Andersen 

PRESS PHOTO
Yes, he does look like this.

CD RELEASES

  • oortcloud 150OORT CLOUD
    Oort Cloud is Jexper Holmen's large scale acoustic ambient work from 2008.
    Available from Dacapo Records


  • trash

    TRASH
    S. CHRISTENSEN, DANIELSEN, J. HOLMEN, KANDING, M. OLSEN
    Available from Dacapo Records


  • npNIGHT PACE – Moose Matrix
    The one hour long trio 'Night Pace' (2004) for three musicians and electronics, written especially for cd release.
    Available from TUTL.COM

REVIEWS

Scoll down for Danish original versions.

About the opera The Dark Blue Lilacwomen in the Residental Neighbourghoods from 2018 on an libretto by Jesper Lützhøft. It was premiered may-june 2019 at KLANG festival in Koncertkirken, Copenhagen, staged by Freja Friberg Lyme:

 "Seldom have I heard such a compromise-repelling and brick heavy work. Much of the time it even seemed uninterested in its own libretto written by Jesper Lützhøft; it could as well have used the phone book or the nearest-by medical encyclopedia as its text. Perhaps that would even have been more appropriate for its musical expression which was centered around such an anacronism as a purely atonal vocal melody. A melody that was followed slavishly note by note by a sixteen-part ensemble with gnarled knots of sound – like a sabotaging deadweight that uttered its multiple car crash of cromatic clusters every time the five singers on stage opened their mouth. Why this ghostly-totalitarian style of writing? Presumably just because!

The result was a monument. A sort of installation rather than an actual opera, for on the face of it there was no development [...] I am sure that Holmen has composed the most sophisticated, private micro-variations of timbre into the parts, and with special up-and-down-going phrases, rocking figures and the violent climaxes with repeated notes the style was enormously expressive. I just think that this ultimatively static work needs to be left in an archive and resurface in fifty years as a cult phenomena before it with its stuttering recitational style really comes to its right. But imagine that it actually exists!"
– Sune Anderberg, Seismograf 2019


"[...] the most one-dimensional piece of musical drama in recent time. Here the audience isn't really needed. We may listen along, but there is not much left to the listener's imagination. What you see is what you get – and it is dark and hard."

"The music is violent and fascinating. With long viscous sounds in columns that make heavy bottom pull syllable by syllable trough all 90 minutes. Holmen has a wonderfully consequent approach."

"I guess the provocative power of Holmen's opera is due to the fact that you cannot discuss with his unambigiuos mode of expression."
– Henrik Friis, Politiken 2019 

About G.T.S.C. for cello from 2018: 
"an unvaried series of random intervals that only differ from fortissimo a few times."
– Mads Hæsum Christensen, Seismograf 2019

About the quartet Attempt from 2000:
"It is wildly fortissimo troughout, tough on the ears, but the less you have to say the louder you have to say it to be heard. Eventually one stopped listening anyway."
– Jan Jacoby, Politiken 2000

About Jexper Holmens debut concert in 2000:
"rickety musical incidents presenting only foreground and background, no variation or richness of details."
– Anders Beyer, Information 2001

 

IN DANISH:

Om operaen De Mørkeblå Lillakvinder i Villakvartererne fra 2018 – operaen blev opført i maj-juni 2019 på festivalen KLANG i Koncertkirken på Nørrebro:

"Sjældent har jeg hørt så kompromisafvisende og murstenstungt et værk. Selv sin egen libretto, skrevet af Jesper Lützhøft, virkede operaen i lange stræk uinteresseret i; den kunne i al væsentlighed lige så vel have brugt telefonbogen eller nærmeste medicinleksikon som sin tekst. Det havde måske endda passet bedre til det musikalske udtryk, som i sit centrum havde noget så anakronistisk som en rendyrket atonal vokalmelodi. En melodi, som node for node blev fulgt slavisk af et seksten mand stort ensemble med klynger af knudrede klange – som en saboterende dødvægt, der udstødte sit harmonikasammenstød af kromatiske clusters, hver gang en af de fem sangere på scenen åbnede munden. Hvorfor denne spøgelsesagtig-totalitære skrivestil? Formentlig bare fordi!

Resultatet var et monument. Mere en installation end en egentlig opera, for her var umiddelbart ingen udvikling [...] jeg er sikker på, at Holmen har komponeret de mest raffinerede, indforståede klanglige mikrovariationer ind i stemmerne, og i særlige op- og nedadgående fraser, vippefigurer samt de voldsomme klimakser med tonegentagelser var stilen enormt udtryksfuld. Jeg tror bare, at dette ultimativt statiske værk lige har brug for at ligge i et arkiv og dukke op om halvtreds år som et kultfænomen, før det med sin hakkende recitationsstil for alvor kommer til sin ret. Men tænk engang, at det findes!"
– Sune Anderberg, Seismograf 2019

"[...] det mest endimensionelle stykke musikdramatik i nyere tid. Her er der egentlig ikke brug for publikum. Vi må gerne lytte med, men der er ikke overladt meget til lytterens fantasi. Det, du ser, er det, du får – og det er mørkt og hårdt."

"Musikken er voldsom og fascinerende. Med lange seje klange i søjler, der laver et tungt bundtræk stavelse for stavelse gennem alle 90 minutter. Holmen har en dejlig konsekvens i sin tilgang."

"Jeg gætter på, at Holmens opera har sin provokatoriske kraft, fordi man ikke kan diskutere med entydigheden i hans udtryk."
– Henrik Friis, Politiken 2019 

Om Gennemgribende Tungt Strukturskabende Cellosonate fra 2018:
"en unuanceret serie af vilkårlige intervaller, der kun få gange afviger fra fortissimo."
– Mads Hæsum Christensen, Seismograf 2019

Om kvartetten Attempt fra 2000:
"Det er vildt fortissimo fra ende til anden, hårdt for ørerne, men jo mindre man har at sige, des højere må man sige det for at blive hørt. Alligevel holdt man efterhånden op med at høre efter."
– Jan Jacoby, Politiken 2000

Om Jexper Holmens debutkoncert i 2001:
"gebrækkelige musikalske optrin, der kun præsenterer forgrund og baggrund, ingen nuancering eller detaljerigdom."
– Anders Beyer, Information 2001