Martin Lohse/Music style

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Martin Lohse
Short biography | Music style | General techniques | Harmony | Rhythm | Melody | Chronology of Techniques | Analyses of works | Classifications of works

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General description[edit]

In my music, I try to encircle small musical moments and atmospheres, which can timeless progress and unfold. The collocation and collision of a “pure” and clear music with a disintegrated and multi-layered music is one of the main characteristic of my music. In the heart, the music often emanate a harmonic and melodic reminiscence of past experiences in glints or longer periods which combined with a floating sensation (accelerando, decelerando etc.) creates a music with the organic form as one of its main foundations.

—Martin Lohse: www.martinlohse.com[1]

Romantic and to some extend, barok music are key elements in the music of Martin Lohse. Smoke, Images balancantes, In liquid... and In remembrance... all have a reminiscence of the romantic style: Small motives and longer themes within a gliding tonality, mixed with a floating sensation of times, sometimes with long and continues accelerandoes or decelerandoes and at other times with tempoes slowly departing from each other. The barok style is clear in a piece like Koncert, but it's also a part of works like In remembrance... In liquid... and Entity.

The music has some polystylistisk elements, not in the form of big clashes of different styles, but more in the sense of polytonality including polytempoes, f. ex in the work In liquid... for accordion and piano, where the accordion in the 1. movement starts slowly together with the piano, but gradually makes a forceful accelerando toward a brilliant barok-figure in a direct collision with the piano, which keeps the slow steady music from the start.

New Simplicity is an essential part of his music, with a direct input from his teacher Hans Abrahamsen, but also evolved with the meting with Arvo Pärt and his music. It is used to concentrate the music, finding the essence in a motive, a harmonic progression or in a structural complex created by the composer. In works like Slow movement, Sorrow and 4. movement of In liquid... the minimalism is transformed or rather reduced to a nearly pure transcendental form.

Mobile[edit]

With the invention of the technique mobile came a remarkable shift in the production, starting with the electroacustic work Moto immoto from 2009. Complex structures of many layered music in simple harmonic sequences with very few dissonances, sometimes with clashes of music styles and at other times with a minimalistic even meditative expression.

Neoclassic[edit]

Modern[edit]

One of the characteristics of the music is the lacking of the traditional “modern” playing techniques of contemporary classical music. The only exceptions are the occasionally use of harmonics, sul ponticello and a seldom use of glissando in the strings.

2000 – Smoke, bar 30-56
Martin Lohse, recorded 25-30 June 2001 by Ensemble Nordlys.
Smoke (2000) bar 30-38 for clarinet, violin, cello & piano: sul ponticello and glissando

On the other hand the term “dualism” which evolved to “dispersion” in modernism is a key elements in the music, especially in the distribution of time: Polytempoes, use of accelerando and decelerando, golden section and the use of free notation. Together with polystylism and polytonality it forms a contrast to the more traditional or minimalistic music.

Romantic[edit]

In a work like In liquid... for violin & piano, the romantic tone are very clear. The harmony of the 4th movement is one long sequence of chords, interrupted with a melancholic melody in the violin, with a variation in accompaniment in the piano each time the melody returns. All in all not far from the variation forms of the romantic music.

2003 – In liquid... bar 1-11
Martin Lohse, studiorecording from The Danish Radio by Christine Pryn & Joachim Olsson.


In liquid... (2003) bar 1-11 for violin & piano: Romantic style, sequence of chords

The harmony in Image balancantes for clarinet, violin, cello & piano, resemble the harmony in the 4th movement of In liquid... as shown before, here the themes and motives have a expression which in some places recalls the works of Brahms.

2004 – Image balancantes, bar 1-16
Martin Lohse, liverecording from Royal Danish Academy of Music by Ensemble Nordlys


Image balancantes (2004) page 1, bar 1-6 for clarinet, violin, cello & piano: Romantic style
Image balancantes (2004) page 2, bar 7-16 for clarinet, violin, cello & piano: Romantic style

Baroque[edit]

When using the baroque elements it's often like the quick idiomatic figures of Vivaldi, sometimes in clashes with other styles of music.

2001 – Koncert, 3. movement, bar 1-13
Martin Lohse, studiorecording 2003 by Ensemble Nordlys.


Koncert (2001) 3 movement, bar 1-13 for clarinet, violin, cello & piano: Baroque style with a polytonal clash of music in bar 8

Renaissance/mediaeval[edit]

Long notes which slowly moves, transform and interact with itself, not in the old church modes of the renaissance age, but in long sequences of chords sometimes lasting a whole movement.

In the 12th and last movement of Haiku, a sequence of six major thirds makes the foundation of the work lasting approximately 4 ½ minuttes. The sequence makes the work ever transposing, slowly but rigidly changing the key throughout the work, which strangely enough gives a new kind of tonality, a steady feeling of a “mode” in a eternal move.

1999 – Haiku, bar 12-19
Martin Lohse, recorded 25-30 June 2001 by Ensemble Nordlys.
Kaiku No. 12 (1999) bar 12-19 for clarinet, violin & cello: Long sequence of chords, the 6 major thirds bar 12-15 in violin and cello are repeated in one long sequence througout the piece, transposed a minor third up for each repetition

Transcendental/minimalism[edit]

A work like the 12th movement of Haiku has a clear minimalistic and somehow transcendental expression, probably because of the ever transposing sequence of major thirds as explained in the section: Renaissance/mediaeval

In works like Slow movement and Sorrow, the transcendence in the music could be explained by the slow changes and permanent modes (d-minor in Slow movement and a 5-tone lydien modus in Sorrow), the minimalistic use of musical material is however the most important feature of the music; a special infinity row in Slow movement with a fundamental repeating structure and a use of a motive with only 10 notes as the full material for Sorrow.

2006 – Sorrow, bar 11-29
Martin Lohse, studio recording.
Sorrow (2006) bar 11-29 for symphony orchestra: Struktur, 10 notes shown with blue repeated as next 10 notes shown with purple etc. througout the piece. The other voices play every 2nd, 3th, or 4th note from the repeating 10-note structur.

Electronic[edit]

The main characteristic in the electronic music of Martin Lohse, is the consistent use of old analog techniques like cut & paste, fades, transposing and multilayer, and thereby a deliberate deselection of the 'digital sound' or noise created by digital processing techniques like time stretching etc.

Chambermusic with electronic[edit]

The most important technique in the chamber music with electronic are the use of delays, creating an echo effect in the music. In works like Entity for soloviolin and 5 delays (1998-2002), the use of delay creates an orchestral effect of big soundscapes slowly changing, trying to keep up with the soloviolin.

1998-2002 – Entity for violin and delays, bar app. 14-23
Martin Lohse, live recording, Warsaw Autumn 2002 by Christine Pryn
Entity (1998-2002) bar 13-23 for violin & four delays.

In more recent works like Speed for marimba & nine delays (2010), the delays are used to create a distinctive rhythm in a repeating change ringing pattern.

Pure electronic[edit]

1997-2003[edit]

In this period the pure electronic pieces was created by cutting, pasting and transposing the composers own acustic pieces, thereby creating an orchestral effect by transforming and putting 2, 3 or even more chamber or solo pieces together.

2004-[edit]

From 2004 and fort, samples/recordings of orchestra instruments forms the basis of the pure electronic composition, using a sample software called Vienna Symphonic Library.

The character of the music is often slow, with few dissonances and with a mellow sometimes even sorrowful expression. A special very forceful and monumental expression is created in the last part of Sorrow with a simple repeating pattern growing from from the contrabasses to the full string orchestra with irreversible force and determination.

References[edit]

  1. Homepage; Martin Lohse