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Danish Songwriter Mikkel Petterson charges into new territory as he translates G.K. Chesterton's poems to music in a neoclassical piece for choir and chamber group.
Why write music for choir in styles that went out of fashion a hundred years ago, at least?
Composer of '8 Songs by Chesterton', Mikkel Petterson says:
'The many accomplished and hardworking choirs deserve, once in a while, to be introduced to new material that is challenging, yet immediate appealing to the singers and the audience.
Chesterton's poems are wordy and sometimes cryptic, but they have a flow to them, which made it easy for me to set them to music. Hopefully, this channels to the listener as well'.
New pieces of classical music of a melodious nature are few and far between. This September sees the release of Mikkel Petterson's, '8 Songs by Chesterton', a new challenge for all choirs, not taking genres too seriously, and for listeners as well.
Simultaneously with the release of the sheet music comes the first recording of the work, performed by the choir of the historical Danish church, Frederiksborg Slotskirke, conducted by the composer himself, who is the choirmaster at this church. The choir is accompanied by a small ensemble of flute, strings, organ and timpani, consisting of hand picked musicians from the best orchestras in Denmark.
Musically, '8 Songs by Chesterton' is a neoclassical piece, borrowing a little here and there from the history of classical and choral music. At times, it ventures into more modern sounds, using a pop vocabulary and in general, it has the eclecticism of Petterson's earlier works in the pop field as a solo artist and with the duo, Alice Sings the Petterson Songbook. In addition to this new piece the CD also includes a new recording of Benjamin Britten's popular cantata 'Rejoice In The Lamb'.
'8 Songs by Chesterton' is the first musical adaptation of Chesterton's work. Born in 1874, Gilbert Keith Chesterton wrote approximately 80 books - among these many acknowledged works in the fields of theology and philosophy, countless essays and newspaper articles as well as a couple of hundred poems - before his death in 1936. He is probably best known for his short stories about Father Brown, the Catholic priest and amateur detective.
Chesterton's Christian outlook on life shines through the poems, which in combination with his sharp wit and the musical variety of the composition, makes for a rather unorthodox piece of church music, equally suitable here and in the concert hall.
Mikkel Petterson: 8 Songs by Chesterton & Benjamin Britten: Rejoice In The Lamb.
Frederiksborg Slotskirkes Kantori, soloists and ensemble
Conducted by Mikkel Petterson and Sven-Ingvart Mikkelsen
Organ: Sven-Ingvart Mikkelsen and Katrine Immerkjśr