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Niels Marthinsen

Publisher: Edition Wilhelm Hansen

Den gamle vandrende Ridder (2005)
Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen
Soloists and Large Ensemble (7+ players)
Year Composed
12 Minutes
tenor tbn
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Programme Note
Niels Marthinsen Den gamle vandrende Ridder (2005)
A Gothic Tale for tenor trombone and ensemble

The Old Chevalier (2005) for trombone and ensemble is the second of a series of seven compositions named after Karen Blixen's collection of short stories Seven Gothic Tales.

My musical gothic tales are written for very different ensembles - The Supper at Elsinore is a saxophone quartet - but they all share musical material in a criss-cross of contextual references reminiscent of Blixen's narrative complexity: Themes and motives from one piece appears in others in new and surprising shapes and combinations.

Karen Blixens The Old Chevalier begins with an old man talking to a youth about
obligation and passion. The old man tells a story about a beautiful woman who wanted to make her husband jealous and cheated on him with a young man who admired him. After discovering the truth the young man meets a prostitute on her very first job. The girl is an innocent, trading favors for shelter. The young man falls in love, but she remains oblivious to his passion. She leaves after their encounter, without emotional involvement. Many years later the young man - the old man telling the tale - recognizes the girl in a beautiful skull he's holding in his hand.

The Old Chevalier isn't 'about' anything. The music is inspired by the artistic
content of Blixen's short story - its emotionalism, dramatic construction, atmosphere, period and setting - but unfolds in time and musical space in ways that are completely independent of the story's narrative progression... except one might say that the trombone makes love to the piano and at the very end - just like the old man in the story is left contemplating its remains.

The piece is written for the trombonist Jens Vind.

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