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Kees Arntzen wins 3rd prize for Composition at the 4th Microtonal Guitar Competition

Norwegian Mood arose as a result of a composition competition for microtonal guitar music in Istanbul, organized by the tireless Tolgahan Çoğulu…   

Where most entries build on – variations of – Eastern and Arabic tone scales with the help of some extra frets on the fretboard of the guitar, Kees Arntzen opted for a radical, more Western approach in the footsteps of the Czech Alois Haba who worked with quarter tones early in the twentieth century and even wrote a theory of harmony.

With the help of three strings tuned a quarter-tone lower, almost all frequencies of the 24-tone scale are available on the guitar. In particular, Kees Arntzen wanted to emphasize the so-called ‘natural seventh’, as it plays a prominent role in European folk music. In the melody of the song ‘Danse ikke gråte nå’ by Norwegian singer Lillebjørn Nilsen he found the starting point for seven free variations. The text of this touching vocals, which can give rise to beautiful vocal arrangements and improvisations, reads as follows:

This earth will feed you
This river will give you water
This girl will give birth to your child
This earth will become your grave

Please check out the recent release of Kees Arntzen – Lieder und Balladen zu Texten von Kurt Tucholsky. Now available at Donemus Records.

Songs written by Josef Malkin at the Grachtenfestival

Soprano Channa Malkin has been nominated for the Grachtenfestival Prize 2020. Together with cellist Maya Fridman and pianist Slava Poprugin she has put together a wonderful program in which around the topic of ‘motherhood’, including a few songs composed by her father Josef Malkin…   

Channa about her concert:

Few things in life are as far-reaching as having a child. The sleepless nights, but also the immeasurable love and primal power that you, as a new parent, suddenly seem to possess. During one of those sleepless nights, I found the song cycle When I rock this child asleep by Mcieslaw Weinberg, to poems by the Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral. These songs expressed and expressed exactly my mother’s feelings.

Parenting brings you back to your own childhood, and at the same time is a confrontation with your mortality. In his Children’s Room, Mussorgsky humorously sets the smart, inventive and naughty mind of the child. On the other hand, there is John Tavener, the 20th-century British composer who was inspired by the Russian poet Anna Akhmatova. She sees death as a ship in a turbulent sea, a cabin waiting for her, and the inevitable, painful farewell to her motherland.

The songs of my father, Josef Malkin, also combine childhood and mortality. In Pis’mo, a little girl writes a letter full of mistakes to her grandmother. In De Waarzegster (The Soothsayer) a gypsy woman predicts to the young poet Boris Ryzhy from whom he will die: guilt.

More info at the Grachtenfestival

(Concert already sold out)