Category Archives: Personal

An improvisation in Paris

Here is a video with a free improvisation I played on the wonderful Aristide Cavaillé-Coll/Joseph Merklin organ in L’èglise Saint-Antoine-des-Quinze-Vingts in Paris.

I was in Paris last week. Taking a walk in the late afternoon, just relaxing and enjoying the city after a meeting, I passed by L’èglise Saint-Antoine-des-Quinze-Vingts. They have a magnificent Cavaillé-Coll organ, and so I decided to walk in and ask if I could play it, and I could! The church was very kind to allow me to do so. A random stroll down the streets of Paris turned in to an encounter with this beautiful pipe organ from 1894.

I played a few free improvisations, and decided to record it with my phone placed on the organ console. So this is a real “home video”, recorded just for myself and not meant to be released, but then today I thought… why not? And so you’ll hear me sing along (out of tune! 😉 and you’ll see me struggle to find the right registrations and couplers by trial and error (I had only been at the organ for about 10 minutes when I recorded this). It’s just me, trying out and enjoying the wonderful Cavaillé-Coll without a care in the world.

The music is of course 100% improvised (inspired by the French school), and the free improvisation can probably best be described as a slowly evolving “meditative” toccata. Don’t expect anything complex in any way, it’s just a walk in Paris…

PS: the tracker keyboard action and the registration changes are very audible, especially the registers closest to the phone (some of them just a couple of cm away).

The video was first posted on Facebook (which is where most of the comments can be found):

Facebook Fan Pages vs. Myspace Artist Pages

Last year, a publicist set up a Facebook fan page for me but I didn’t get involved in it myself initially. Until January 6th this year that is, when I decided to kick start it by becoming active updating the page.

Here’s the link: Frederik Magle Music

A Facebook Fan Page differs from a Myspace musician’s profile in several ways. Put simply, Facebook “fans” cannot be compared to myspace “friends”.

First of all, you cannot add “fans” in the same way you can add myspace friends (that can even be done in bulk). The Facebook users have to find and add your page by themselves as a conscious choice (You can, however, send out invitations to your existing facebook friends, but if you’re like me you’ll have much fewer facebook friends than myspace friends and most of them are “real life” friends, family, and acquaintances).

When people become a fan of you on facebook they display that on their profile and in their news feed. Hence becoming a fan of something on facebook is significant thing – a statement for all your real friends and family to see, whereas becoming a myspace friend doesn’t necessarily signify any particular “approval” or interest in the new “friend”.

To make a long story short, a myspace “friend” is not necessarily a fan or even someone remotely interested in your music, but a facebook “fan” is most likely a real fan or at least someone genuinely interested in you and/or your music.

To me that makes the Facebook fan page more relevant than a Myspace page as a way of getting the word out and connecting with online listeners, even with far fewer “fans” than myspace “friends”. I’m not abandoning Myspace, but I will focus the time I spend of “social networks” on the Facebook page from now on (though of course I will always spend the most time and give highest priority to my own website.)

A Long Journey – The history of Cantabile (Part 1)

The journey begins in early 2003 with my first meeting with Prince Henrik (the Prince Consort of Denmark), regarding the composition of a large work for symphony orchestra, choir and soloists – using poems from his book »Cantabile« as the text. A journey that would end up taking many years longer than I, or anyone else, would have expected. But in the process I would learn much and in the end it would change my life in many ways.

Musical journeys never end, but the journey of Cantabile will reach its originally planned destination with the first performance of the remaining parts of the work on June 10th. (Read more about the concert here).

»Cantabile« is a suite consisting of three symphonic poems. I began working on the first poem »Souffle le vent« (Cry of the winds) in the late summer 2003, and finished it just in time for the first performance on June 10th, 2004 at the gala-concert celebrating Prince Henrik’s 70th birthday.

form the premiere performance of Souffle le vent

The first performance of Souffle Le Vent in the Tivoli Concert Hall

Early in 2003 the plan was for the entire work to be performed at that concert, but as the year progressed the plans were changed to only include »Souffle le vent«. part of the reason for this was the orchestra’s very tight schedule in the spring, but this was fine with me giving me time to focus on getting the first poem just right.

The first performance of »Souffle le vent« was indeed a milestone for me, and the premiere went very well with Thomas Dausgaard conducting the Danish National Symphony Orchestra (DR SymfoniOrkestret) and chorus. Excerpts are available as downloads.

But there was trouble ahead. Big trouble. I “caught” a very bad case of writer’s block and over a period of several years rewrote the 2nd and 3rd poems more than 10 times from scratch until I finally was satisfied…

To be continued…

The »Souffle le vent« score

The »Souffle le vent« score (Photo © Frederik Magle)

Some new photos

Yesterday I had a complete series of photos taken by a good friend of mine, a great photographer and graphics artist, Michel Winckler-Krog. The weather was excellent so we spend the afternoon in Copenhagen with Michel making some crazy shoots, including some of me standing in the middle of Knippelsbro (Knippels Bridge) during rush hour! 😀

Later we returned to Michel’s studio and took some portraits. It’s been almost seven years since I have had any “real” portraits taken, so I guess it was about time…

Four of the photos taken yesterday can be viewed and downloaded in high resolution on the Photos page on A lot more pictures were taken and Michel is doing some work on a couple of them. I don’t want to reveal anything but I can tell you that you are in for a surprise 😉

A Tale Of Two Music Forums

A little over four years ago (in 2002) I founded Magle International Music Forums. Initially it worked as a sort of glorified »guest book« in addition to my personal site. But very soon – within the first 6 months – I took it in a completely different direction and largely removed the affiliation with my person. For example by adding sections where other composers and musicians can promote their music and have it reviewed. Since the launch the forum has grown significantly and consists today of close to 16,000 posts covering a wide array of musical genre and topics: classical music, pipe organs, crossover & fusion, progressive rock, film music, etc.

In the beginning of 2006, my megalomaniac tendencies took the better of me, and I began considering ways to expand even further… One thing I considered was possibly buying other sites, and thus I went looking on the net. I came across a site called Talk Classical, which is a »classical music forum« of very high quality, but at the time it was almost dead. It had about 3500 posts and 200 members, but the level of activity was very low with only a few new posts per week. It sparked my interest – perhaps a chance to revive it? I went as far as looking up the owner of the domain and began thinking about how to approach him by email, but for various reasons I decided to leave it for the time being.

And then the miracle happened, only about a month after I had considered contacting the owner, in the middle of February, I stumbled across a classified ad (post) on a forum about dealing with domain names – completely by chance! It so happened that the owner had put up for an online auction! That was a sign I couldn’t resist, and it ended up we me buying the Talk Classical forum and domain name. It was the first time I had bought a website but the takeover went pretty smoothly.

To begin with I also took over the hosting account, but it was a so called »shared hosting« (running on a server with maybe hundreds of other sites) causing the forum to run annoyingly – sometimes unbearably – slow. Magle International Music Forums was also running on shared hosting (though at a different company) and also experienced low performance. So, on June 6th, 2006 I finally took the step all out and moved both sites to a dedicated server. It’s extremely expensive and causing me quite big “losses”, but (after some initial teething problems) both sites now run at excellent speed. So I consider it an investment in the future – it better pay of some day! 😀

After taking over Talk Classical I started doing small but significant technical improvements, besides moving it to the dedicated server. I also began a long term internet ad campaign that has brought in many new members. The first 6 months, things went slow. Posting rates improved but only at a relatively slow pace, and I myself had unfortunately only limited time for posting. Then in the fall the breakthrough happened! The rate of new members and posts began to increase exponentially, and here we are today with Talk Classical being a rather thriving and growing classical music forum.

As of recently, some days Talk Classical is even more active than Magle International Music Forums. My goal is of course for both forums to be successful. Originally I contemplated some sort of technical merger, but I have since abandoned that idea and will instead run the two forums as separate but somewhat interconnected »sister sites«. There’s actually a little competition between them on the subject of classical music, but I believe a little friendly competition can only be good thing.

The challenge now is to build on the momentum and keep the growth of Talk Classical and further expand Magle International Music Forums. In fact the latter is probably the one requiring the most work right now as it has seen a slight slowdown as of recently. How do I differentiate the two forums, and how do I use and expand their individual strengths to mutual benefit? Those are some of the challenges facing me.

One thing’s for sure. Running a forum, yet alone two, is a big job. I constantly have to consider how to do it without it taking time away from me composing – I guess I’ll just have to stay awake a few more hours a day 😉 Without the help from dedicated moderators and co-administrators it would be outright impossible, luckily for me (and the communities) there are some great moderators/co-admins on both forums. No matter what, the joy from seeing such a project succeed is immense and will make it worth it all.

I will keep you posted on the progress

Best regards,
Frederik Magle

Hello from aboard the good ship »Splendour of the Seas«

I’m writing this from the library (where there’s a wi-fi connection), looking out the panoramic windows, while the coast of eastern Italy slowly passes by in the horizon. Yesterday we (my girlfriend Mette-Marie and I) set out from Venice, Italy and tomorow we’ll reach Athens, Greece. Then we’ll go to Mykenos, Rhodes and finally Dubrovnik (Croatia) before returning to Venice from where we’ll take a plane back to Copenhagen.

It’s a great ship – both in size and comfort, and we have an extremely nice cabin with our own balcony (I’ll post some photos later). It’s all very relaxing which is exactly what I needed, but not the least boring (I think there’s many misconceptions about going on a cruise being boring, etc.) and the passengers are a mixed bunch of all ages and nationalities.

Yesterday, we experienced Venice during what can best be described as a rain storm. Though we got absolutely soaked when walking around the city and later waiting for transportation to the ship, it also had its own beauty. The Saint Marco square was completely flooded, not something you see every day.

Anyhow, so far the journey is going very well and I’ll be back later. Please excuse if I’m not updating this frequently – the satellite internet connection onboard is quite expensive…

Best regards,

Back in business…

Well, the title is a little misleading since I haven’t actually been out of business this summer (I’ve been composing, more about that later), but I’m now back in the internet business as well :)

That means I will be updating this blog more ofen (hopefully) and also that I am now much more present at my forums. Speaking of the forums, I just upgraded Magle International Music Forums to the latest software. And that includes a cool new “trackback” function, which I will test on this post.

More coming sooon…

»Kosmos« revisited

A couple of days ago I got a call from a Danish organist. A trumpet player debuting from the music conservatoire had asked him if he could buy the score for my work »Kosmos«, since he would possibly like to play it at a concert this summer (after having heard it on CD – an MP3 excerpt can be downloaded at my brass music downloads page.)

I composed »Kosmos« in 2001. It was a commision from a Danish freemasons lodge of the same name, in celebration of their 150th anniversary. In 2003 it was recorded for the CD »Kosmos«, which was released on Classico Records in 2004. I’ve spend most of today revising the final bars of the piece, as I’ve never been 100% satisfied with them. I think what I changed today was for the better. 10 minutes ago I send the score out by email.
Anyhow, I’ll of course let you know if and when the performances of »Kosmos« will take place.

Symphonic poem »Cantabile« progress log

For a very long time now I have been working on a large-scale work of classical music; the symphonic poem »Cantabile« (MP3 download of the first movement). It is nearing its completion, the only thing missing is for me to finish the third movement (the first, second, and fourth are all ready). I’m running a “sorta” blog about the progress on my music forum here. Major developments will be announced on the forum, but this blog will be used for day to day progress reports. I think I’ll work a few hours extra on it tonight to make up for the time spend setting up this blog today 😉