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Pioneer of Faroese classical music on new album

Aldubáran © Amy Hansen

Pioneer of Faroese classical music on new album

The Faroese ensemble Aldubáran has made the world premiere recordings of composer Sunleif Rasmussen's solo- and ensemble works for a new album to be released this Friday. The music can be experienced live at Nordatlantens Brygge on Sunday 1 March.

25 February 2020

Sunleif Rasmussen (b. 1961) is the undisputed pioneer of Faroese classical music. The album Andalag – Solo and Ensemble Works is recorded in Tórshavn, by some of the Faroe Islands’ most talented performers, the New Music ensemble Aldubáran and violist Jákup Lützen.

Faroese landscapes and traditions

Rasmussen learned notation from his grandmother and a local teacher and absorbed the tunes of the Faroese folk tradition and hymnal by osmosis. As a teenager, he was sent to learn the basics of music theory in Norway, and in 1988 made the journey to sovereign Denmark, where he studied composition with Ib Nørholm. The composer has been responsible for the Faroe Island’s first opera and its first Nordic Council Music Prize, awarded in 2002 for his Symphony No. 1, Oceanic Days.

The new album Andalag presents music, that emphasizes Rasmussen's closeness to the unique musical traditions and landscapes of the Islands themselves. The distinctively Faroese elements of the music have not always been very prominent in Rasmussen's music, and thus he tells: “I used to hide them – I didn’t want to be another Bartók”

Sailing trips inspire the process

'Prominence’ doesn’t necessarily mean the the faroese elements are obvious. Often, musical themes are plotted over a large expanse or traced over busy iso-rhythmic activity, and are emerging only with perspective. Rasmussen likens the process to the frequent sailing trips he takes around the islands of Sandoy, Skúvoy and Stóra Dímun: “When you are on the water, things change slowly,” he explains. “You may know how a particular island looks, but when you sail around it, you experience entirely different perspectives on the same place and you hardly notice it happening. That’s what I try to express in my music.”

Concert at Nordatlantens Brygge

Sunleif Rasmussen's music can be heard live, when Aldubáran visits Copenhagen on Sunday 1 March. At a concert at Nordatlantens Brygge the ensemble will perform works from the new album.

The concert is free and everyone is invited. After the concert Dacapo and Edition Wilhelm Hansen invite for a reception to celebrate the new release.

Stream the album

Dacapo has released several albums with music by Sunleif Rasmussen.
  • Sunleif Rasmussen

    Andalag – Solo and Ensemble Works

  • Sunleif Rasmussen

    Symphony No. 2 ‘The Earth Anew’

  • Sunleif Rasmussen

    Motion/Emotion - Chamber Music

  • Sunleif Rasmussen

    Dancing Raindrops

  • Sunleif Rasmussen

    String against string

  • Sunleif Rasmussen

    Orchestral Works