I’ll try not to make any comparisons, but I was just stunned by the volume and quality of Swedish music over the summer, preparing for September’s Swedish Symphony Series (awesome alliteration!), and this month, we’re doing Danish.
There are a few names that likely come to mind, at least one or two probably, for famous Danes, which is maybe more than the Swedes can say, from a casual non-music fanatic’s perspective, but unless you’re a pretty dedicated music person, many of these names won’t be familiar to you unless you’re from that region of the world, I think.
Something I’ve come across many times in preparing series like this (Swedish, Russian, etc.) is “[composer’s work] enjoyed great success during [period of time], and is still played regularly, but is rarely heard or known outside [their home country].” And why should that be?
It stands to reason that a culture/nation of a composer would likely be the source of that composer’s greatest support, but that’s certainly not always the case. That being said, as I tried to express in the November wrap-up article, we live in an age of seemingly unlimited options and resources, and it’s very rare that something musical you’re looking for just can’t be found, although I did hit a few of those walls in preparing for this series.
What I mean to say is, it’s in today’s age, now more than ever that we as non-Danish or non-wherever-you’re-thinking-of listeners can crack into and enjoy the musical heritage of other cultures, and music in general.
Some of what we’ll talk about has clear influence from Austro-German roots, but the music of Denmark, symphonies or otherwise, has been enjoyable to dig into, to learn about names and teachers and works and there is obviously quite a bit that this series will not discuss, either because I just don’t have time, or because recordings/scores/albums could literally just not be found, but those folks will at least get their mentions in the wrap-up for the series.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, this series, like the Swedish one, has also ballooned out to make for a hefty month of music writing. I’d originally plucked out a handful of Danish names, and some others for chamber works on the weekends, but it grew and grew and grew to the point that we’re back this month to like three pieces midweek and one on the weekends. There’s some really fantastic music coming up this month, so take some time to enjoy it.
Also, if you read this far and can be bothered to do so, send me an email or leave a comment. I’m debating which series like this to do next. Finnish has been waiting for a very long time, and that’ll likely be a big one too, but there’s also the English symphony, the American symphony, the French symphony, and the Polish symphony. I am currently leaning towards one or two of those, but each of those is a month-long, heavy-lifting endeavor, and I will only do a few of them a year, so… those could hold us over until the spring of 2018 or something. If you have thoughts, please share them, and stay tuned for delightful Danish music in December.