Music is alive Classic Days overcomes corona obstructions

The festival program had to be rewritten, but for the 16th consecutive year will Holstebro nevertheless resound with classical music in the first days of October – three of this year’s concerts recorded by DR. You can almost hear the Symphony of Fate playing in the background, but in fact it has always been the intention that Classical Days – Holstebro International Music Festival this year should pay tribute to, among others, Beethoven, who turns 250 years old. His motto was: “Per aspera ad astra” – “Through the difficulties of the stars”.

The outbreak of the corona pandemic in the spring truly made the winged words very down-to-earth, for most of the festival program had to be reviewed and rewritten. But now it should be safe and proven: Holstebro will again this autumn resonate with classical music, played by eminently talented musicians.

– We have chosen to implement this year’s festival despite Covid-19 and all the small practical changes it brings with it right now and the new challenges, cultural life in the long term face. Therefore, the festival takes place in a reduced form, but which perhaps, seen from the positive side, invites to a more intimate atmosphere, says flutist Janne Thomsen, director and artistic director of Classical Days.

– It is extremely challenging to be an organizer in these Covid times, but we are not ready to throw in the towel yet. The whole team is working at high pressure to get everything done, we are sprinting but everything is ready to go, it seems, she assesses.

Beethoven, Gade and Sørensen

The theme of this year’s festival will be Beethoven + together with a selection of the Danish-German cultural venskabsår 2020. Among other things, the festival offers the first movement of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”, one of the composer’s most famous works.

– The inspiration has mainly been directed from south to north with Germany, as a completely natural stop and attraction for a large number of Danish artists, such as our great national composer Niels W. Gade, who for long periods lived in Germany and befriended leading composers of the romantic age, says Janne Thomsen, who was born and raised in Holstebro, but has lived in Germany for a number of years.

– With this romantic age theme, we have thus been able to invite one of the Nordic region’s leading composers, Bent Sørensen, recipient of the Nordic Council Music Prize. He has just discovered some of these romantic traces of the past in a premiere written especially for the festival, where Bent Sørensen is a guest when the work premieres in Holstebro – by the way one of the three concerts recorded by DR P2, says Janne Thomsen.

Saturday night’s traditional concert by candlelight in Holstebro Church will be an interaction with the poet pastor Hanne Jul Jakobsen, who will read from his new book “Home touched – about living life” – a highly topical theme this year, where many of us have spent more at home than we usually do.

Fighting for the bassoon

Classic Days have again the dynamic and enthusiastic Orchestra Midwest and Remus – Central Denmark Region’s Youth Symphony Orchestra.

In parallel with the concerts, events are held, which bring the music out to local high school students, OrkesterEfterskolen and Musikskolen and the festival ends with a masterclass before and subsequent concert with an invited group of Denmark’s most talented bassoons. The teaching is led by the Dutch bassoonist Bram van Sambeek, who has run his own campaign “Save the bassoon” (“Save the bassoon”). A title that is deliberately quite dramatic with the desire to make people think about whether the bassoonist could be threatened like the panda. There is a real danger. And consequently a danger to the symphony orchestra’s future.

Classical / jazz concert prelude

Due to the corona-adapted program, which results in fewer audience seats and shorter concerts, Classic Days will run prelude concerts to expand the program as much as possible.

We really look forward to collaboration with Jazzclub ’93 at Hotel Schaumburg in the form of delicious French classical / jazz “Blue Baroque” with Claude Bolling’s excellent suites, abounding in traditional classical dances with Anders Mogensen on drums, Artur Tuznik, piano, Zoran Markovic, bass, and I even on flute, says Janne Thomsen and ends in a hopeful tone:

– We hope that the audience will show up in large numbers. Who knows what the darker season has to offer in these challenging times? In the concert on Saturday at Knudsens, I play Kuhlau’s “Es kann alles nicht so bleiben”, where the song is actually about us feeling so good in each other’s community, but life can suddenly come across and then we spread for all to see. Classical Days hopes to be able to enrich soul and mind with good shared experiences and wonderful music, something we have all had to do without for so long.

Janne Thomsen, Artistic Director