By Jørgen Carlsen
THE SONG THE MELODY
This year Carl Nielsen would have turned 150. There’s a world of reason as to why this should be celebrated. Carl
Nielsen is one of a kind amongst Danish composers. He’s somewhat of a paradox. He’s the most brilliant of them all
but at the same time the most down to earth. With his operas, symphonies and Chamber musical pieces, he has
astonished the serious crowds throughout generations. His music with numerous song compositions has spread all
over Denmark like a ray of light that shines on all of us. His productivity was immense. It was almost like some of the
melodies came to be in a trance-like state of mind. “The melodies came to me like birds that flew through the window
and sat on my shoulders” he said.
The breakthrough was the melody for a poem by Jeppe Aakjær “Jens Vejmand”. It became the first hit record to
‘terrorize’ the aether in Denmark. It was released in no less than three competing Gramophone roll recordings and was
sung by everyone. He later threw himself and his extraordinary talent upon numerous poems, which were transformed
into songs. No one has, as he had, ever contributed to conjure forth the treasure that lies in Danish poetry. In the
book “Højskolesangbogen” (Read: Folk school song book) he is by far the single most contributing composer.
In the album “THE SONG THE MELODY” the treasured solo guitarist Kaare Norge embedded his love onto 14 of Carl
Nielsens Danish songs. The album can fittingly be seen as Kaare Norge’s tribute to his fellow Danish musician
colleague. Like the album title suggests, every song contain two elements; a song and a melody. It is only natural for
a song to have the lyrics be the foreground that gives the song a title and identity. But in “THE SONG THE MELODY” it
is just the opposite and the lyrics only give the song its title. In return Carl Nielsen’s melodies plays a wonderful lead
and deserves all the attention it gets. The result is a treasure of mild musical revelations.
“THE SONG THE MELODY” is an exquisite musical feast in small bites. The melodies are allowed to shine in their own
right. They don’t get smeared in with the pop tastes of the masses or subjected to disproportionate sound effects in
the studio. Kaare Norges arrangements stay humble and respectful to Carl Nielsen’s original releases. Carl Nielsen
never, as far as I know, produced music to be played by guitar but Kaare Norge truly shows how it in its delicate and
non-intrusive manner contributes to the greatness of Carl Nielsen’s art of composition. It shows the stunning inner
strength that lies in the melodies of Carl Nielsen; the crisp simplicity that holds the will to live.
Most of the songs contain several verses but Kaare Norge chose to only do two or three and some with warm and
temperate variations. It is not the intention that we sing along with the songs. On the contrary we should listen to the
melodies and let their mesmerizing beauty grace us. Many of us know them well. They have become a part of us, and
they live on in our souls. For the same reason “THE SONG THE MELODY” will seem like water for the soul. It allows us,
with ease, to relax and feel at home. Those of you who have not yet had the pleasure of experiencing the melodies of
Carl Nielsens can suitably get onboard here. And I will guarantee lively and lovely days await.
Or as Carl Nielsen would have phrased it “Music is life – like this it is inextinguishable”
Through “THE SONG THE MELODY” Kaare Norge manages to manifest himself as one of Denmark’s finest
instrumentalists. The album is his 23rd in his series of excellent guitar art.
Jørgen Carlsen, born 1949, is an idea historian and since 1986 a superintendent at Testrup højskole (read: folk
school). He is a member of the ethical council, co-editor of ‘Højskolesangbogen’, columnist at ‘Kristeligt Dagblad’
(read: Christian daily) and judge at the popular Danish TV-program “Smagsdommerne” (read: arbiters of taste).