Lars Bagger-‘Julen har bragt velsignet bud’

Posted on January 21st, 2010 by

Peter Sheppard Skaerved-ViolinLars Bagger-‘Julen har bragt velsignet bud’

St Mary Aldbury Church. Violin PSS. Engineer Jonathan Haskell-Astounding Sounds 6/6/10

There is music that hovers on the edge of creation, at the place where sound, where movement, where words fail. Its beauty often resides in discomfort, in forgetting, in disappearance, in lightness, in fragility, perhaps in not quite being there at all.

Thirty-three minutes into Lars Bagger's 'Julen Har Bragt Velsignet Bud'

I met Lars Bagger at the Carl Nielsen Conservatorium 6 years ago. He took part in the workshops that we were running there. More importantly, for me anyway, he immediately confronted my comfort zone.
PSS with Composer Lars Bagger. Odense. Photo Richard Bram

In the photo above, we are working on the very first piece that he showed me, Lutzhofer Fragments. He was fantastically difficult to please, but immediately I sensed that there was a fascinating creative intellegence at work. Since then, he has produced a series of ever more delicate works.  

“What I wanted to do then, was to more or less copy this piece, and do a sort of re-instrumentation of the it, only working backwards from orchestra to a single instrument. This would possibly classify as  stealing to some people, but I decided not to care about that, my  only goal being to write some music that I really like. Besides, I  think that using other composers pieces as a starting point for new pieces is a very fruitful way to work, and I find it much more interesting to work with things other than my own ideas.” Lars Bagger describes his working method. Letter to PSS 12/7/09
 The most extraordinary of these is ‘Julen har bragt velsignet bud’, Bagger’s unique ‘paraphrase’ on a much loved carol. This work takes three quarters of an hour to play, with note lengths ranging from very short (15 seconds), to long (90 seconds). I first played it under the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral in 2007, and it, like many of Bagger’s scores, has been nagging at my imagination every since. This is not a piece that shuts the world out, any more than John Cage’s 4’33” should be heard in anechoic silence.
St Mary Aldbury Church. Violin PSS. Engineer Jonathan Haskell-Astounding Sounds 6/6/10
 “Christian Wolff once played a very quiet piano piece at a concert. Only “problem” was the window was open, and all sorts of noises, including nearby traffic made the music almost unhearable. Afterwards someone asked him to play the piece again, only this time with the window closed. But Wolff was perfectly happy with what had taken place, and he didn’t feel it was necessary to do it again. I love that story…” Lars Bagger-letter to PSS 5/5/10

Julen har bragt velsignet bud
Tekst: B. S. Ingemann, 1839
Melodi: C. E. F. Weyse, 1841

Julen har bragt velsignet bud.
Nu glædes gamle og unge:
Hvad englene sang i verden ud,
nu alle små børn skal sjunge.
Grenen fra livets træ står skønt
med lys som fugle på kviste.
Det barn, som sig glæder fromt og kønt,
skal aldrig den glæde miste.

Glæden er jordens gæst i dag
med himmelkongen den lille.
Du fattige spurv! Flyv ned fra tag
med duen til julegilde!
Dans, lille barn, på moders skød!
En dejlig dag er oprunden:
I dag blev vor kære frelser fød
og paradisvejen funden.

Frelseren selv var barn som vi,
i dag han lå i sin vugge.
Den have, Guds engle flyve i,
vil Jesus for os oplukke.
Himmerigs konge blandt os bor,
han juleglæden os bringer,
han favner hver barnesjæl på jord
og lover os englevinger.


Listen: Anton is Sleeping (Outtake)