ENS.2018.3 | 16′
Eventyr is the Danish word for “fairy tale” or “adventure,” and the title of Hans Christian Andersen’s first book of stories. These works have so become part of everyday life it’s hard to imagine a time without “The Emperor’s New Clothes” or “The Little Mermaid.” I chose this unfamiliar title because I liked its runic inscrutability, the way it suggests the kind of secret incantation that might be found in one of Andersen’s tales. However, although this piece attempts to evoke the world of fairy tales in general and the work of Hans Christian Andersen in particular, neither movement depicts any specific story; instead, each hopefully conjures a fantastical character and tone.
Eventyr casts its spell in two dramatically opposing movements. The first is quieter, more mysterious, moving through a variety of miniature kingdoms before coming to an uneasy rest, gazing out toward an uncertain future. The second is more exciting and forceful, reminding us that fairy tales are as often grotesque and frightening as they are delightful and appealing—the little mermaid is transformed into foam, the emperor revealed naked as the day he was born.
While still using the complex systems and intricate compositional style I’ve developed over the years, with this my first orchestral work I wanted to employ these techniques to try and write something more simplified, accessible, and straightforward. Drawing musical inspiration from a variety of disparate sources from Tchaikovsky to Charli XCX, Eventyr marries colorful orchestration to strict musical processes, creating a kaleidoscopic journey through a fairy tale landscape.
Eventyr was written in late summer 2018, lasts about sixteen minutes, and is dedicated to Sarah Goldfeather.