The year is 2012. The place is the Danish Music Academy concert hall in Copenhagen. The event is the Wunderground Festival. On the program is a work called Svævninger (or Beats).
Before the performance begins, an elderly woman wearing a prim white blouse and a long black skirt descends several steps onto the stage. She is a composer named Else Marie Pade. She is 88 years old and has composed for decades, but she has never heard her work performed in front of a live audience before. Svævninger has been a collaboration with Danish sound artist Jacob Kirkegaard, a colleague half a century her junior.
The two walk slowly across the stage, arm in arm. They acknowledge the audience, then take their seats behind a laptop and a mixer.
“Are you ready?” Kirkegaard asks quietly.
The auditorium lights dim to blue. Otherworldly sounds start seeping through the space: eerie, disorienting pulses, a magnetic hallucination.
“That’s good,” she murmurs.
She looks up to the ceiling where the sky would be.
Else Marie Pade was born Else Marie Jensen on 2 December 1924 in Aarhus, Denmark. Soon after her birth she was diagnosed with a recurring kidney infection. As a result she spent countless months bedbound, motionless, just listening.Continue reading