Australian-born Tonya Lemoh lives in Copenhagen, but has an impressive
international career as a concert pianist. Despite her broad wingspan, for her
new solo album Tonya has chosen to bring to light entirely unknown piano music
by the Danish composer Svend Erik Tarp (1908-94). The CD will be released on
10th April 2011 on Dacapo Records.
Tonya, you have studied and given recitals in many
countries before coming to Denmark. How did you discoverTarp's piano
"In the Department of Musicology at the University of
Copenhagen, where I teach piano, I found Tarp's three improvisations
lying in a heap one day. I played them through and was enthu¬siastic and
surprised about this music - by a composer I'd never heard of before! I
thought right away that it would be so cool if I could get to record
Tarp's works on CD, since the music is really exciting and obviously
more people should be able to enjoy it!
"I contacted the senior researcher Claus Røllum-Larsen at
the Royal Danish Library, who helped me to find more music and scores
by Svend Erik Tarp. Then I sat in the library and ‘read' the various
works through, and imagined what would work best in a concert situation -
and on CD. Luckily I found plenty of ‘serious' and stimulating
compositions - so then it was just a question of getting started!"
How would you describe Tarp's piano music? What does it recall?
"Svend Erik Tarp was a contemporary of composers like
Herman D. Koppel and Vagn Holmboe, but his music is different from
theirs, because it's more French-inspired - more flowing and more
colourful. Although he'd studied composition in Germany, Austria and
Holland, Tarp's music was influenced more by the musical spirit of the
French group Les Six - that is, a brilliant, sophisticated neoclassicist
style with touches of Impressionism.
"At the beginning of his career Tarp was very set on
making his music accessible and relatively simple to listen to, but in
reality he couldn't help experimenting. And that's exactly what makes
the music exciting! His later works show signs of a great artistic
temperament, a fascination with a unique sound-world, and a magnificent
ability to structure compositions with both breadth and depth."
What is you favourite work on the CD?
"My favourite work is probably Theme with Variations,
which has a fantastic mixture of Tarp's usual charm and lyricism, but
which launches itself into some very exciting harmonic areas. It's an
extremely well structured work where his musical idiom is highly
personal and original. The theme in fact slightly recalls Carl Nielsen's
well known song Apple Blossom. I'm also very fond of the
suite, which is a youthful work in a very charming way. It may be a
little immature in style, slightly awkward - but the music is so full of
life and energy!"