What do we mean when we describe something as a major work? Is it a comparison with other releases in the same genre, or is it a more singular evaluation? Is it simply a measure of the release’s inherent value?
By either measure, Christian Winther Christensen’s Almost in G is a considerable accomplishment. There is an urgent originality at work here that absolutely sparkles next to less daring new classical recordings. Comparisons aside, it is a thrilling hour of compositions expertly performed by the SCENATET Ensemble for Art & Music.
The 12-member ensemble has emerged as a leading group in the European experimental music world. They’ve worked with a long list of Danish and international composers including Peter Ablinger, George Aperghis, Joanna Bailie, Kaj Duncan David, Jagoda Szmytka, Juliana Hodkinson, Simon Løffler, Jessie Marino, Sarah Nemtsov, Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri, Niels Rønsholdt, Francois Sarhan, Salvatore Sciarrino, Simon Steen-Andersen, Bent Sørensen, Manos Tsangaris and Jennifer Walshe.
SCENATET consist of twelve musicians as permanent members and are recognized as one of the most innovative and experimental ensembles for music and art in Europe. They’ve performed compositions by Peter Ablinger, George Aperghis, Joanna Bailie, Kaj Duncan David, Jagoda Szmytka, Christian Winther Christensen, Juliana Hodkinson, Simon Løffler, Jessie Marino, Sarah Nemtsov, Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri, Niels Rønsholdt, Francois Sarhan, Salvatore Sciarrino, Simon Steen-Andersen, Bent Sørensen, Manos Tsangaris and Jennifer Walshe.
- Hannah Törnell Wettermark, flute
- Vicky Wright, melodica, clarinet and bass clarinet
- Karl Husom, trumpet
- Matias Seibæk, melodica and percussion
- Frederik Munk Larsen, guitars
- Tine Rehling, harp
- Sven Micha Slot, piano
- Kirsten Riis-Jensen, violin
- Mina Fred, viola
- Karolina Ôhman, cello
- Manuel Nawri, conductor
- Anna Berit Asp Christensen, artistic director
Back to my original question, because Almost in G is clearly a major contribution to 21st century classical music. What makes it so has as much to do with intellectual bravery as it does comparisons to others and compositional/performance expertise.
These 16 pieces aren’t just enjoyable. They are a challenge to listeners as much as they were to the 12 members of SCENATET. Those who are up for it will be inspired.