«Light Through Leaves» borrows musical seeds gathered from the six symphonies of Danish foremost classical composer Carl Nielsen (1865-1931), then recycles this great cultural heritage and recontextualizes these seeds in a nowadays sonic garden. The sonic gardeners are Danish composer Peter Jensen, in his third work for big bands, and producer and sonic architect Morten Büchert, together with a large jazz orchestra, The Danish Radio Big Band. This work was commissioned for the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Nielsen’s birth in 2015.
Jensen did not want to jazz-up Nielsen’s themes, so he used samples and sound fragments from recordings of symphonic works by Nielsen to form the basis for Jensen and Büchert’s new compositions. Jensen wanted to leave the fragments of Nielsen’s music untouched and let the new compositions, augmented with loops and soundscapes created by Büchert, interweave around and play contrapuntally with these Nielsen’s fragments,, so they would reflect and shed new perspectives on Nielsen’s music, and emphasize their relevance for today.
The complex dissemination of this cross-aesthetic take demanded that the natural voids in Nielsen’s music define the shape of the new compositions; that the Danish Radio Big Band only played the new compositions and barely touched Nielsen’s themes; and that the distillation of Nielsen’s micro signatures would be into short repeated statements, for the listener to better experience how the new themes grow and fill in the voids.
This tasking process of recontextualizing Nielsen’s artistic heritage led to eight elusive compositions that juggle wisely with brief symphonic quotes, heavily manipulated samples and loops and the bursting energy of the Danish Radio Big Band. Jensen and Büchert created a fascinating, lyrical work of give-and-take between the refined and well-structured classical music and the liberating power of a large jazz ensemble. This work respects both sides of this challenging equation and offers new sonic possibilities for the 21st century big bands.
Peter Jensen (concept, comp, orchestrations, cond), Morten Büchert (concept, comp, music prod), Andreas Vetö (cond), Nicolai Schultz (as), Peter Fuglsang (as), Hans Ulrik (ts), Karl-Martin Almqvist (ts), Anders Gaardmand (bs), Thomas Kjærgaard (tp, flh), Jens Gotholdt (tp, flh), Bo Fuglsang (tp, flh), Mads LaCour (tp, flh), Gerard Presencer (tp, flh), Dave Vreuls (tp, flh), Mårten Lundgren (tp, flh), Peter Dahlgren (tb), Kevin Christensen (tb), Vincent Nilsson (tb), Kim Aagaard (tb), Annette Saxe (btb), Jakob Munck (btb, tuba), Per Gade (g), Søren Gemmer (p), Henrik Gunde (p), Kaspar Vadsholdt (b) Søren Frost (dr)