Henning Christiansen - Op. 41 Badet / Kom Frem For Satan / Min Dode Hest / Op. 72 Bondeforeren Knud Lavard LP
Release Date: September 18th, 2020
The second release on The Henning Christiansen archive label is a compilation of four works from 1967-1972 including a poem set in a bath, an unknown musical work, the musical backdrop to a horse sacrifice and a soundtrack to a school play. What binds these works together alongside the period when written is their basis in "song" and some traditional "musical" elements. What separates it them from said tradition is that they were composed by Henning Christiansen. "Op. 41 BADET" is a simple work featuring three elements: Charlotte Strandgaard reading her poem "Badat" (The Bath), Henning playing melodica, and the sound of water splashing in a bath. The result is an unusual and evocative lo-fi setting to the resigned nature of the reading.
Not a lot is known about "Kom Frem For Satan" (Come Forward Satan). Possibly a soundtrack of sorts? It certainly carries that mood with jazz-inflicted interludes, melodic organ moments all interlaced with the diegetic sounds of cars, footsteps, gunshots, etc. The result comes across like a gangster tinged musique concrete radio play. "Min Død Hest" was previously released as a single-sided 10" under the name "Hesteofringen", here restored under its correct name. "Min Død Hest" (My Dead Horse) was written to accompany the Bjørn Nørgaard performance "Hesteofringen" (The Horse Sacrifice) on January 30th, 1970, one of the most notorious performances in Danish art history. Featuring a poem written by Lene Adler Pedersen, this is a recording made after the performance with Lene Adler Pedersen singing, accompanied by Christiansen on piano (as opposed to the green violin he used in the performance), "Min Død Horse" is a beautiful haunting fragile song laden with metaphor, a sad lullaby is as simple and unusual as anything in Christiansen's output. "Op. 72 Bondeføreren Knud Lavard" is the soundtrack to a school play performed on at the Fanefjord School on the island of Møn, Denmark, where he lived, in 1972.
Another surprising work in Christiansen's oeuvre the six pieces that make up this work shift between the sinister and sweet, often in the same track. Falling within the same period Henning made the soundtrack to The Executioner, "Bondeføreren Knud Lavard" mixes the melancholic romantic mood of that soundtrack whilst deep organ chords, military drumming and an acoustic guitar solo (played by Henning's first son Esben Christiansen) all make an appearance.