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Kasper Rofelt

© Caroline Bittencourt

Kasper Rofelt’s first published work was Distruzione una sinfonia, which he finished at the age of 22; but the music had followed him long before that. Even before he took his school-leaving exam in the modern language line from the N. Zahle Upper Secondary School in 2001, where he had a number of his youthful works performed, he studied music with several musical personalities, including Karsten Fundal (composition, theory), Jørn Jørkov (conducting) and Søren Gleerup (organ).

The music from this time is stylistically searching and does not belong to the works he himself regards as part of his authorized oeuvre, although they evince a number of characteristic features that were later to constitute his musical fingerprint. This is true of among other things his thinking on ‘associative tonality’ and on melody.

After high school, he trained in composition and music theory at the Royal Danish Academy of Music with teachers including Bent Sørensen and Niels Rosing-Schow in his major subjects, as well as studies with Per Nørgård from 2006 to 2010 in parallel with the Academy.

This period was extremely productive, and he wrote a large number of works for many different types of instrumental configurations and in many genres. Among the major works from this period that should be mentioned are the accordion concerto Shadow Phases (2007/2009), Light Falling (2008) for accordion and cello, his Saxophone Concerto in Four Miniatures (2009) for saxophone and chamber ensemble and Symphony No. 1 (2009- 2010) for large symphony orchestra.

A long succession of solo works from the same period testifies to his way of exploiting the technical possibilities of the instruments, but at the same time, they are typical of his style and thus important to mention: Das Diaphorische (2006) for transverse flute, Circulaire 1 (2006) and Shadow Pieces (2007) for accordion, Études pour le piano (2008-), Sérénade pour Ionesco (2009) for harp, Nebulous Toccata (2009) for guitar, Epanalepsis (2009) for organ, and Entourage (2010) for recorder.

He has himself mentioned that sonority and technique are such important aspects of his way of forming the music that in the great majority of cases they cannot be separated from the work. If one takes a work like Nebulous Toccata for guitar, for example, the nature of the guitar (sonority, instrumental technique and expression, for example) is integrated so closely with the work that it makes no sense to transcribe this work for other instruments, since a transcription would destroy its underlying idea and distinctive expression.

However, a few works do exist in several versions. This may be because they have been reworked with special reference to the idiomatic features of a new instrumental ensemble, as is the case for example with Nightsong (originally for piano), which exists in a wealth of different versions, each with its point of departure in the special technical potential and sonorities of the instruments involved. This means that the music can only be performed on the specified instruments. Or else it is because the transcribed music is based so much on pitches rather than timbre and instrumental technique that a transcription would not crucially change the basic idea. This is however the exception rather than the rule.