Festmusik – mit japanischem Geist und deutschem Akzent (2010)
This work, composed for orchestra, was premiered at a festival in Zürich where Christian Winther Christensen was the main composer together with the Norwegian Rolf Wallin and the Frenchman Phillippe Leroux.Festmusik is the tile of a work by Richard Strauss that was commissioned by Japan on the occasion of the emperor’s 2600 birthday and performed in 1941: Festmusik zur Feier des 2600 järigen Bestehens des Kaiserreichs Japan für großes Orchester (Japanischer Festmusik). In the work lie several references to Beethoven – even though the title refers to Strauss. Winther Christensen says of this: “There are passages where the string trio has to play in unison. They try to play the theme from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony “Ode to Joy”, which is extremely difficult since it is placed in an extremely high register so there is hardly place for the bow and fingers. It is so beautiful because while they are singing of being united it is quite impossible to play together.” The use of the Beethoven quotation also functions as a kind of negation of the entire work. When the work was performed in Zürich Winther Christensen received warm reviews, for instance the following: “The promising work of the Dane Christian Winther Christensen is characterized by an ironic-cynical conciseness. His unmistakeable writing is based on peculiar playing techniques and tonal elements. Thus it came as no surprise when he in his new work premiered at the festival “Festmusik – mit japanischem Geist und deutschem Akzent” (2010) quoted not only Richard Strauss but also Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”. Neue Zürcher Zeitung, 16 November 2010.