Previous Engagement

Engage and Share (KAIROS MUSIC 0015039KAI) is an orchestral work of contemporary classical music from the Danish composer Lars Graugaard. Never having heard his work before, I find it’s not possible to encompass the work and life of this extraordinary fellow just through the prism of this single piece. He seems to have followed a fairly maverick path that includes being a drop-out from the academic background where he studied classical music and learned to play the flute, to being a drop-in as he was later asked back into the same educational and musical milieu as a professor, visiting lecturer, and composer in residence. In between he followed his own self-taught methods for composition, trained other young aspiring musicians, took part in the international hippy “scene” in the 1970s, and later composed techno music for the laptop. This is not to mention the numerous works for chamber groups, orchestras, and opera and stage work…

You may not be able to hear all of the above in Engage and Share, which is an orchestral piece played by Grup Instrumental De València and conducted by Joan Cerveró. I’m unable to grasp all of its nuances and intentions, but it is very complex music, especially during the second suite ‘Slonk’ which calls on the musicians to perform elaborate lines which border on being baffling – plenty of strange harmonies, unusual melodies, and percussive textures. Graugaard also enjoys extremes of dynamics, which may be why the writer Gudni Franzson likens this work to walking alongside a cliff edge next to a stormy sea in windy weather. Franzson also alludes to the very open-ended, collaborative, and spontaneous working methods of Lars Graugaard, which sometimes involves the use of software to help him achieve his goals. All of this creates what is vividly described as “an ocean of threads that appear…as the texture of a woven blanket blowing incessantly.” From 28 July 2018.

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