HCA NEWS Symphonic Fairytales

World premieres of 10 fairytales set to music by Danish composers are to be performed internationally in celebration of the 2005 Hans Christian Andersen Bicentenary.

By Mikkel Stjernberg - H.C. Andersen 2005 - 15 January 2004

Never before have so many new works by Danish composers premiered so widely.

Symphonic Fairytales will be the main feature of the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 classical music programme celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen next year. 

The 10 newly composed Danish orchestral works based on fairytales and poems by Hans Christian Andersen will be premiered the world over, primarily as family entertainment concerts, between 2 April 2005 - Hans Christian Andersen's birthday - and 6 December 2005. 

Accompanied by among others the New York Philharmonic, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Sinfonieorchester Basel, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Royal Philharmonic in Stockholm, the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra and the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Odense Symphony Orchestra and the Southern Jutland Symphony Orchestra in Denmark.

Sponsored by HCA2005
The unique compositions have been commissioned by the Society for the Publication of Danish Music, Edition SAMFUNDET, which in 2000 launched two composition projects sponsored by the Danish Ministry of Culture.

Today, Symphonic Fairytales is sponsored by the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Foundation and developed in collaboration with the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 Secretariat represented by Secretary General Lars Seeberg.

"The Symphonic Fairytales event is a prime example of a Danish project that from the very first note has adopted an international approach. Just as other artistic projects related to Hans Christian Andersen 2005, Symphonic Fairytales features new artistic renditions based on works by Hans Christian Andersen. In addition to presenting Andersen and contemporary Danish composers, Symphonic Fairytales highlights just how successfully high-profile orchestras have engaged in staging world premieres of Hans Christian Andersen related performances. We also take pleasure in the enduring interest beyond the 2005 premier that these works promise," says Secretary General of HCA2005, Lars Seeberg.

Inspired by Andersen
Danish and international composers alike have always sought inspiration in the works of Hans Christian Andersen ? among the most prominent composers are Robert Schumann, Alexander Zemlinski, Arthur Honegger and Igor Stravinsky.

As recently as in 1999, the dacapo record company released a CD with the Odense Symphony Orchestra featuring 3 compositions based on Andersen's work, namely Finn Høffding's "It's Quite True" (1943), Sven Erik Werner's "The Most Incredible Thing" (1997) and Fuzzy's "The Woman with the Eggs" (1998). The world premiere of Svend Hvidtfelt Nielsen's chamber opera "The Little Mermaid" featured as recently as May 2000.

With Symphonic Fairytales, the Society for the Publication of Danish Music builds on an established musical tradition, which - true to the spirit of the storyteller himself - unites both children and adults alike in the concert experience.

The famous works by Hans Christian Andersen have been chosen in
collaboration with Andersen scholar Johan de Mylius the composers and are set to music within four genres: The Tone Poem, which is purely instrumental, The Orchestral Lied that engages vocal soloist, The Read Tale, featuring a narrator, and The Integrated Work where children actively participate in the performance.

Inexhaustible source
"Symphonic Fairytales is the greatest international symphonic undertaking ever within the world of Danish music and the almost 133-year history of the Society for the Publication of Danish Music. The enthusiasm of the participating orchestras and composers pays tribute to Hans Christian Andersen as an inexhaustible source of inspiration for composers of all time. Currently, 25-30 performances of the compositions are planned in 2005 alone. In addition, the compositions represent invaluable contributions to the family repertoire of the participating international orchestras. With the Hans Christian Andersen 2005 partnership and with the support and sponsorship granted by the Ministry of Culture, Odense City Museums and the University of Southern Denmark, Danish symphonic music - hand in hand with Andersen - is about to experience a unique consolidation within the world of music performance," says Chairman for Edition SAMFUNDET, Klaus Ib Jørgensen.

The Symphonic Fairytales composers are John Frandsen, Fuzzy, Jesper Koch, Bent Lorentzen, Svend Nielsen, Svend Hvidtfelt Nielsen, Ib Nørholm, Per Nørgård, Morten Olsen and Sven Erik Werner.

These composers have created compositions based on the following fairytales:

The Shadow, The Travelling Companion, The Snow Queen, The Tinder Box, The Swineherd, Thumbelina, The Bell, The Will-o'-the-Wisps are in Town, The Little Match Girl and The Racers.

Apart from the Danish orchestras - i.e. the Odense Symphony Orchestra, the Southern Jutland Symphony Orchestra and the Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra - partnerships have been forged with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Oslo Philharmonic, the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic in Stockholm and the New York Philharmonic.

The Symphonic Fairytales event seeks to engage symphony orchestras throughout four continents and is currently holding talks with a number of prominent international orchestras in the Nordic countries, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain, Australia, the USA, Canada, China and Japan. Contacts are also being forged in Brazil, Portugal, Italy, Estonia, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

Find more information here!