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Hear Else Marie Pade's 'Syv cirkler' and 'Vikingerne' on a new digital album

Hear Else Marie Pade's 'Syv cirkler' and 'Vikingerne' on a new digital album

Dacapo Records is continuing the digital EMP Series with new, digital versions of Else Marie Pade's electronic music. On 10 November EMP 4 is released, presenting the electronic main work Syv cirkler (Circles of Sevenths) and the world premiere of the work Vikingerne (The Vikings) among others.

New release
06 November 2023

On Friday 10 November, the fourth release in the digital EMP Series will be released, presenting the electronic music of Else Marie Pade in new, digital versions.

The album opens with the work Syv cirkler (Circles of Sevenths) from 1958 is often regarded as Else Marie Pade's electronic main work, still appearing modern and visionary to this day. In 1958, Pade visited the World's Fair in Brussels to immerse herself in the latest musical developments. Syv cirkler is directly inspired by an installation at the fair, the Vortex show which was shown in a planetarium, where artificial stars adorned a dome with a background of electronic music. Pade said about the experience: "It [the stars, red.] kept going around in my head, and it dawned on me that it was all about circles." 

The idea of the work was to describe seven spheres with each their own timbre and velocity. The work follows a serial structure with a sequence of seven tones with a pulsating rhythm, creating a circular and almost hypnotic effect. Syv cirkler can be characterised as being much more melodically driven than Pade's later electronic works.

Multimedia work and inspiration from Stockhausen

Lys og lyd (Light and Sound) (1960) with text by Piet Hein was composed to be presented alongside a 'light composition' by film director Jens Henriksen, which was closely tailored to the dynamics and movements of the music. The work is purely electronic and was introduced by a delivery of Piet Hein's prologue, commencing with: 'Return to us, untouched, the resonance of sound and light. / Let us sense space and time – as if for the first time.' The text mentioning the 'resonance of light' highlights the multimedia nature of the work. Lys og lyd carries a measure of drama with sporadic 'sudden' sounds. The works commences with very highfrequency sine tones after which a set of intricate chords and a helicopter-like noise are introduced.

The new digital album also contains the work Etude I from 1961, which utilizes filtered noise and layered sine wave chords as the central elements. The utilization of this minimal sound palette, along with the work's title, may hint at inspiration drawn from Karlheinz Stockhausen's earliest purely electronic pieces, such as Studie I (1953) and Studie II (1954).

World premiere on 'Viking music'

Finally, EMP 4 also presents a world premiere, that is Vikingerne (The Vikings) from 1961. Vikingerne was a collaboration between Pade and film director Jens Henriksen with the aim of producing an educational film on the lives of Vikings in the Nordic region. Regrettably, the visual component of the film has been lost.

This audio of Vikingerne is rooted in the fundamental elements of 'classical' electronic music: sine waves and white noise. With these basic tools, Pade  constructs a diverse soundscape, featuring intricate chords as well as sustained sounds. The audio serves a dual purpose, functioning as both atmospheric background music and a direct auditory complement to the film's narrative. Electronic sounds illustrates a waterfall and drum-like sounds of the Vikings' celebrations among others.

One can envision that these electronic reproductions might have appeared quite surreal. However, it's possible that the core idea behind the music was to avoid attempting to replicate 'authentic Viking music'. Instead, they opted for a contrasting approach by commissioning a composer to craft an entirely synthetic auditory environment. From a formal standpoint, listening solely for musical pleasure might present some difficulties, given the highly abstract progression without the visual component.

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