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Listen to the world premiere recording of Bo Holten's concert opera 'The Emperor’s New Clothes'

Bo Holten © Lars Skaaning

Listen to the world premiere recording of Bo Holten's concert opera 'The Emperor’s New Clothes'

Newly recorded retrospective includes three of Bo Holten's most cherished concert works: a concert opera based on Hans Christian Andersen’s The Emperor’s New Clothes, a song cycle to evocative poetry by Sophus Claussen and an oboe concerto inspired by the instrument’s unique lyrical capabilities. The album will be released on 23 October.

New release
21 October 2020

With nine operas in his catalogue, Bo Holten (b. 1948) is the most prolific living composer of lyric theatre in Denmark and among the most prolific the country has ever known. A new album, recorded by Odense Symphony Orchestra, provides insight into the composer's universe.

Passionate advocate for tonalily

Holten’s musical foundation stones range from jazz to polyphony, and in his compositions, he returns to the fundamental beauty of simple musical ingredients; intervals, tunes, common rhythmic and harmonic devices lie at the heart of his works.

In a torrid time for tonality, Holten has been one of its most passionate advocates, likening composing without tonal harmony to ‘painting without colour.’

World premiere recordings of concert works

The new release contains three of Bo Holten's most cherished concert works.

The concerto opera The Emperor’s New Clothes with a libretto by Eva Sommestad Holten was written on the occasion of Hans Christian Andersen's bicentenary in 2005, and had its first performance in DR Koncerthuset that year. The recording is made by Odense Symphony Orchestra and vocal ensemble Musica Ficta, with soloists Gert Henning-Jensen and Palle Knudsen.

Bo Holten wrote the Oboe Concerto from 1995 in Rome and much of it is thematically linked to the city, through the use of  Roman music and melodies from Italian Baroque. Soloist in the recording is Max Artved.

Songs of Dusk, written in 1987, is a song cycle for high, lyric soprano with obbligato bassoon, recorded by Christine Nonbo Andersen and Morten Østergaard. The songs are based on eight poems by the neoromantic Danish poet Sophus Claussen, that take in absurdity, heartbreak and fleeting joy, and in Holten's composition the bassoon
represents the poet and the female voice the object of his sensual affection.

Conducted by the composer himself

In addition to being (b. 1948) a prolific composer of lyric theatre, Bo Holten is also an internationally renowned conductor. On the new release, he himself leads Odense Symphony Orchestra and the vocal ensemble Musica Ficta, which Holten formed in 1996.

Stream the album.

  • Bo Holten

    The Emperor's New Clothes

  • Bo Holten

    Gesualdo · Shadows – a modern Baroque opera

  • Bo Holten

    The Visit of the Royal Physician (DVD)

  • Bo Holten

    Venus' Wheel - Works for Choir

  • Bo Holten

    The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

  • J.P.E. Hartmann, Carl Nielsen, Thomas Laub, Thorvald Aagaard, Poul Schierbeck, Peter Heise, Bo Holten, Oluf Ring, Harald Balslev, Bo Gunge, Marianne Søgaard, Ernst A. Kiørboe, N.K. Madsen-Stensgaard, Haakon Elmer, Henrik Rung, Emil Hornemann

    Songs from the Borderland