'Solens spejl' (Mirror of the Sun) is Danish ensemble Via Artis Konsort's interpretation of a collection of sensual poems written by Hans Christian Andersen during his journey to Spain in 1862. These atypical poems depict the ambivalent and ambiguous reaction of a Nordic middle-aged man triggered by the interaction with the Spanish population, especially the Spanish women.
Musical Accompaniment for a Cultural Impact
The composition and arrangement of the music in 'Solens spejl' elegantly support the state of 'shock' and contrasting emotions of the Danish poet immersing himself in Southern European culture. The musical pieces and songs traverse a range of styles, from solemn and religious in works like. ’A mi pena’ - to lively and dance-like with alternating rhythms in movements such as ’Seguidilla’, ’Soledad Nórdica’, and 'De danser med kastagnetter' ('They Dance with Castanets').
The unconventional combinations of Via Artis Konsort
The ensemble Via Artis Konsort employs a unique combination of instruments that blend together beautifully. Each instrument, originating from different historical eras, adds a rhythmic agility to the performances of the three charismatic singers, who lyrically and emotionally portray the text.
The songs vary in character and mood, but ’Ve mig, mit Alhama’ ('Woe is Me, My Alhama') stands out as it is sung not only in Danish but also in Spanish. Poul Udbye Pock-Steen's arrangement skillfully combines elements from the Renaissance, Nordic folk music traditions, and early flamenco. The arrangement is vivid, musically captivating, and emotionally evocative. The distinct voices of the two sopranos and the mezzo-soprano blend harmoniously, providing expressive variation throughout the different sections of the song.
Another noteworthy song is 'Havblå er hendes øjne' ('Her Eyes Are the Color of the Sea'). Sung exclusively in Danish, the lyrics vividly depict the stark contrasts in Hans Christian Andersen's encounter with the Spanish woman. The musical expression ranges from neo-romantic to an experimental modern language, featuring a captivating clarinet solo. To say the least, one certainly does not get bored when listening to this song.
A Musical Journey to Spain
'Solens spejl' offers a unique glimpse into Hans Christian Andersen's poems from his journey to Spain. Via Artis Konsort masterfully takes us on this journey through elegant arrangements, a diverse musical language, beautiful harmonies, and captivating rhythms.
- Anna Wierød: Soprano
- Katrine Dyrehauge Roos: Soprano
- Þórgunnur Anna Örnólfsdóttir: Mezzosoprano
- Katerina Anagnostidou: Marimba and percussion
- Tine Antonsen: Clarinets
- Teresemarie Lisiux: Piano
- Lars Hedelius-Strikkertsen: 19th century guitar, oud
- Mogens Rasmussen: Viols
- Poul Udbye Pock-Steen: Piano, sequencing, musical direction