Axel Borup-Jørgensen



              was born in 1924 in Hjørring, Denmark, but grew up in Sweden. In 1946 he returned to Denmark to study at The royal Academy of Music in Copenhagen (piano with Anders Rachlew and instrumentation with Poul Schierbeck and Jørgen Jersild). He explains, that as a composer, he is more influenced by the mood of the expressive swedish and finno-swedish poetry of such writers as Karl Vennberg and Gunnar Björling, then by the contemporary music.

In 1959 and in 1962, he participated in the holliday-classes in Darmstadt, beeing attracted by the "sound" of the Darmstadt-"school", in which he found a confirmation of his own development. But he never wrote serial music. He rather created his own mixture of the new sound with a sometimes vegetativ style (as in "Nordic Summer Pastoral" (Nordisk Sommerpastorale) from 1964 for orchester) or a strongly expressive style with dramatic outbursts and long rests (as in another orchestral work "Cretaufoni" from 1961).


              Since 1967 he has often used the guitar in his chambermusic, and his sologuitar pieces (of which Praeambula from 1974 is the first) all show a profound knowledge of the technical and musical possibilities of the instrument.


              Praeambula, op 72,     was written for Ingolf Olsen in 1974, and revised untill 1976 for the grammophonerecording of Erling Møldrup (EMI MOAK 30 017 - now out of print).

The work consists of different types of motivic material, interrupting each other, giving the impression of parrallel existense of them all, and of sudden shifts in the music between them. The tension between these "layers" constitutes the piece.


              Morceaux, op 73:2,    and Praeludien, op 76,    , represent two different ways of further treatment of the material of Praeambula. Here the seperate types of material are allowed to be rounded off in movements, set up with mutual contrast. In Morceaux each type appears only once, while in Praeludien the same material often appears varied in several movements.


              The latest work for guitar solo is "Für Gitarre", op 86      (1978-79 for Maria Kämmerling). Here the broad, dramatic chords of the opening section are interlaced with an insisting line of triplets, forming a curve of tension, which, in the middle of the piece, gives way to a vegetativ and almost cristalline movement. The latter is cut off again by the triplets and chords, and this dramatic third section concludes in a kind of recapitulation of the opening chords, whereafter the music aproaches a static state.


              3 Poems of the old China, op 103:1       from 1983 were originally composed for mezzosoprano and lute, but the lute-part can - as in this case - be played on a guitar with the the four low strings tuned down a major second (D,G,c,f,b,e'). The songs are composed in a relatively simple way, the middle song a capella. Above the notes is written: "Steady held vocal (expresses itself mainly through the intervals), the dramatic expression is in the lute-part ("distorted" accents, rhytmical tensions, contrasting with the voice).


              Songs for soprano and guitar on poems by Ole Sarvig, op 104     were written in 1983-84 on quotations from the poetry of Ole Sarvig. They are highly demanding for the voice, and are far more dramatic in their expression then are the chinese songs. But like those this work contains an important guitar part, commenting, forming framework and reinforcing the mood of the text.


              Poèsies pour la dame á la licorne, op 121:1       were written as late as 1986-88. The title refers to the French gobelin-series of the later 15th. century, "The lady with the unicorn". The work is written for two guitars. The inspiration is partly found in Rilkes "Die Aufzeichnungen des Malte Laurids Brigge", in which the gobelins are mentioned:

"Es gibt Teppiche hier, Abelone, Wandteppiche.....Wie Ruhig sie sind, nicht? Es ist wenig Abwechslung darin. Da ist immer diese ovale blaue Insel, schwebend.....Links eine Löwe, und rechts, hell, das Einhorn.....Und hast du den Spruch entdeckt auf dem Zeltrand oben? da steht: A mon seul désir.....Es ist ein spiegel, was sie hält.

Siehst du: sie zeigt dem Einhorn sein Bild-"

In an atmosphere of harmonics small pieces of memory turn up - remote hunting horn signals, small fragments of a medieval tune.

                                                                       Per Dybro Sørensen