In an album of world-premiere recordings, accordionist Bjarke Mogensen performs Martin Lohse’s extraordinary Echoes off Cliffs – ‘a symphony in rural surroundings’.
Echoes off Cliffs (2021)
Martin Lohse (b.1971)
For accordion, electroacoustics and six speakers
18. Sort sol / Black Sun: Starling murmurations –
fast moving patterns in the sky (2016)
for guitar and accordion
Bjarke Mogensen, accordion
Mikkel Egelund Nielsen, guitar
Echoes off Cliffs – a symphony in rural surroundings
for accordion, electroacoustics and six speakers (2021)
The time of the Earth
The time of the Cliff
The time of Man
Performing in the cliffs of Bornholm with a work written specifically for the island’s magical rural landscapes is an idea I have had since I was quite young. The raw granite walls own an alluring power that seems to call for some kind of musical reverberation. I have often felt how a solemn, almost sacred atmosphere will inhabit the many rock quarries that are scattered across the landscape of Bornholm, almost like small open cathedrals adorned with the changing aspects of natural beauty, as the seasons follow each other in the cycle of the year. A special atmosphere that, for me, is comparable to some of the world’s largest concert halls – calling for a musical sound experience where time passes slowly.
Composer Martin Lohse and I have explored the accordion in countless constellations and in CD releases: as a solo instrument, in chamber music and as a front figure before an entire symphony orchestra. Martin Lohse has a deep interest in nature and its geological processes, and this is expressed in many of his works. We therefore felt that it was an obvious idea to try and combine his special insight into both sound and nature in a newly written work that draws on our shared experiences throughout a long collaboration and friendship.
His works are based on an understanding of time that fits perfectly with the timeless Bornholm rock landscape that inspired the work presented in this release.
A composer with nature in his blood
“Precisely this particular interest of mine in nature and its power, more specifically: geology, and how it could be instrumental in a novel interplay with music, was the starting point for Echoes off Cliffs and its structure,” explains composer Martin Lohse:
“For years I have had a strong interest in geology, and this can be clearly felt in Echoes off Cliffs. The music is reflected in itself and in the cliffs, and several layers of time arise that intertwine with each other. In this work, Earth’s slow, almost unchanging time meets human time in the form of small accordion interludes that gradually develop into a melody of their own.”
Sort sol / Black Sun: Starling murmurations – fast moving patterns in the sky (2016)
for guitar and accordion
Commissioned by and dedicated to Mikkel Egelund Nielsen and Bjarke Mogensen. Sort sol (Black sun) is a natural phenomenon which occurs in the southwestern part of Denmark during spring and autumn, when large flocks of starlings, called murmurations, create fantastic sweeping masses that move in ever-changing patterns across the sky and block the light of the sun.
Sort sol was premiered at the Bornholm Music Festival 50th Anniversary season in Aa Kirke, 2018.
In an album of world-premiere recordings, accordionist Bjarke Mogensen performs Martin Lohse’s extraordinary Echoes off Cliffs – ‘a symphony in rural surroundings’. Mogensen had long imagined performing among the dramatic cliffs of Bornholm, a Danish island in the Baltic Sea. Inspired by this concept, Lohse wrote Echoes off Cliffs for accordion, electroacoustics and six speakers, conjuring up the atmospheric reverberations of this unique landscape. Mogensen is also joined by guitarist Mikkel Egelund Nielsen for Lohse’s beautiful Sort sol / Black Sun: Starling murmurations – fast moving patterns in the sky, a work commissioned by and dedicated to these artists and based on the phenomenon of starling murmurations creating sweeping masses that move in ever-changing patterns across the sky, blocking the light of the sun.
Bjarke Mogensen (b.1985) is an accordionist with an extensive international concert activity as a soloist, as a chamber musician and in front of an orchestra. Award winner in a large number of music competitions, notably taking 1st prize in the European Broadcast Union’s Soloist Competition (2012) and DR P2’s Chamber Music Competition (2011).
Bjarke Mogensen graduated from the soloist class of the Royal Danish Academy of Music in 2012 with teachers Geir Draugsvoll and James Crabb and is today associate professor at the same place. In 2011 he made his solo debut at the Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall, New York. His playing has taken him around the world, where he has visited concert halls such as the Concertgebouw in the Netherlands and the Barbican Hall in London. In addition, Bjarke Mogensen has released over 10 CDs under his own name, and he has made numerous TV and radio appearances at home and abroad.
After Bjarke Mogensen debuted as a soloist at the age of 13 in a television broadcast on German television with millions of viewers, he has distinguished himself as one of Denmark’s prominent soloists. Bjarke Mogensen is a versatile musician whose palette ranges from his own compositions and those of baroque masters such as Bach and Scarlatti over folk music and the tango to the avant-garde music after WW2. Through his curiosity and pioneering work with his instrument, Bjarke Mogensen has inspired the creation of numerous pieces – solo, chamber music and concertos for accordion and symphony orchestra. A number of works by prominent composers such as Per Nørgård, Poul Ruders, Bent Sørensen, Anders Koppel and Anatolijus Senderovas bear a dedication to Bjarke Mogensen.
Martin Lohse (b.1971) holds an Advanced Postgraduate Diploma in Composition and a Masters in Music Theory at the Royal Danish Academy of Music, where he studied with Niels Rosing-Schow and Hans Abrahamsen.
Lohse has written works for choir, for orchestra, for chamber music ensembles and for soloist with and without electronics. He has written more than 100 works – often performed both nationally and internationally they reach such diverse venues as Scandinavia, Europe, Asia, North and South America and Australia with performances of his orchestral works in Germany, Switzerland and Estonia and his works for accordion in Carnegie Hall, New York in 2011 and 2018.
In recent years his music has evolved to a purer expression, involving very simple patterns of successive major thirds. He has named this technique Mobile, and it was developed around 2009 by combining polystylistic elements with a simple repeating sequence of chords, sometimes creating a simple nearly transcendental music and at other times creating a cacophonous collection of minimalistic, romantic and baroque music on top of each other, all in different tempos but with no or very few dissonances.
In his visual art Martin Lohse is deeply inspired by the abstract art community COBRA which existed in Denmark from 1948-51 and by the American expressive art of Jackson Pollock etc. Now he uses a scraping technique developed by Gerhard Richter, making paintings where the viewer can look through several layers of paint, and thereby creating the illusion of several events in time existing together at the same time.
Mikkel Egelund Nielsen
Mikkel Egelund Nielsen (b.1987) is a Danish guitarist with an extensive concert career at home and abroad; he took 1st prize at the London International Guitar Competition 2013. He has been soloist in Poul Ruders’ 1st guitar concerto Psalmodies and soloist in Luca Francesconi’s guitar concerto A Fuoco together with the International Ensemble Modern Academy (IEMA); throughout his long career with new music he has collaborated with and had works dedicated to him by several composers, and he has contributed to premieres of more than 80 works so far.
Tonmeister and music producer
Jesper Andersen is a graduate from and currently the head of Tonmeister programme at The Royal Danish Academy of Music. As an audio engineer, pianist and Grammy-nominated producer he has recorded over 100 CDs and produced music for radio, TV, theatre, installations and performances. He has worked as a sound engineer/producer at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation and been a guest lecturer on numerous music academies globally.
Click the button above to download all album assets.