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)