Crowds and Power

Friday, Feb 7th 2014 - 7:30pm

Music by Vagn Holmboe, Luiz Henrique Yudo and first performance of new work by Line Tjørnhøj.

Crowds and Power is the title of a famous book by Elias Canetti, the 1981 Nobel Prize-winner for Literature. Two summers ago I asked Line Tjørnhøj to compose a new work for us based if possible on some of the ideas in his book. It is a thick book. As an introduction here are some of the lines I selected.

There is nothing that man fears more than the touch of the unknown.
All the distances which men create round themselves are dictated by this fear.
It is only in a crowd that man can become free of this fear of being touched.
The crowd, suddenly there where there was nothing before, is a mysterious and universal phenomenon.

Rhythm is originally the rhythm of the feet. Every human being walks, and, since he walks on two legs with which he strikes the ground in turn and since he only moves if he continues to do this, whether intentionally or not, a rhythmic sound ensues. The two feet never strike the ground with exactly the same force. The difference between them can be larger or smaller according to individual constitution or mood. It is also possible to walk faster or slower, to run, to stand still suddenly, or to jump.

Crowd crystals are the small, rigid groups of men, strictly delimited and of great constancy. Their unity is more important than their size. Their role must be familiar.
They may be allotted different parts, as in a chorus, but they must appear as a unit, and the first feeling of anyone seeing or experiencing them should be that this is a unit that will never fall apart. Their life outside the crystal does not count. Even where the unit is merely a professional one, as with [choral singers], no one thinks of their private existence; they are the [chorus].

But our concert is not only about power and crowds; it is also about the opposite. One performer alone, not quite singing a song.  Many voices, exploring the beautiful examples of humanity in certain Danish poems of the 1970s. A ballad, which belongs to all and no-one. And the strange group-compositions of Brazilian artist and composer Luiz Henrique Yudo.

Paul Hillier


Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen
You and I and amyas(I)
Luiz Henrique Yudo
Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen
Luiz Henrique Yudo
For six voices
Vagn Holmboe
Line Tjørnhøj
"Art vox reportage" - on civilisation 2."