My end is my beginning

Monday, Mar 20th 2023 - 12:00am

This concert is a journey through life, where the noise and clamor of the world meets the exalted and eternal. With pieces of particular importance to Ars Nova Copenhagen and contemporary danish vocal music.

The concert gets its title from the medieval composer Guillaume de Machaut's work Ma fin est mon commencement or "My end is my beginning", which has the special feature that it is composed the same from front to back. Gavin Bryar's And so ended Kant's traveling in this world, takes time to reflect on life as a journey with many stages.

These existential considerations are crossed by the sounds of the noise and activity of the city and life. Orlando Gibbons Cries of London is the sound of, among other things, street vendors, rat catchers and the call of the night watchman, a whole day's voices elegantly woven into the music. Gibbon's work inspired Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen's Three Stages, which in ordinary "Pelle-style" combines Danish street cries with forest birds and Shakespeare. This is an absolute masterpiece in contemporary Danish choral music written for Ars Nova and Paul Hillier in 2003.

How to fold the wind was written for Ars Nova by the American Pulitzer Price-winning composer Caroline Shaw in 2020. Shaw is a composer with a deep understanding of the human voice, and here she goes back to the simplest form: Breathing - the essence of life and of singing. The work begins almost wordlessly with breaths and a few slightly dissonant chords, which slowly grow as the individual parts – voices, words, harmonies – fold in and out of each other.

This concert will be the last for Paul Hillier as chief conductor of Ars Nova Copenhagen. We will miss him terribly, but as he himself has said with the titel of this concert - Endings are also new beginnings!


Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen
(1932 – 1916)

Three Stages (The Cries of Copenhagen)

Guillaume de Machaut
(1300 – 1377)

Ma fin est mon commencement

Gavin Bryars
(1943 – )

And so ended Kant's travelling in this world

Orlando Gibbons 
(1583 – 1625)

The Cries of London (arr. Paul Hillier)
What is our life

Per Nørgård 
(1932 – )

Wie ein Kind

- Pause   -


Caroline Shaw
(1982 – )

How to fold the wind