Amongst Axel Borup-Jørgensens symphonic works, his Marin is considered to be one of the most significant Danish works of its time. Since Marin was inspired by the sea, it was decided to create an animated visual fantasy, with an underwater universe, to this work.
This project started in late 2013. Also in 2013 began the work on the portrait film AXEL, with contributions from fellow composers and musicians like Ib Nørholm, Per Nørgård, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen and Finn Savery. (DVD Release September 2017 on OUR Recordings, catalogue number 2.110426 and CD catalogue number 6.220620). MARIN is a unique project. An animated movie created as a visual complement for the sounds in Axel Borup-Jørgensens huge symphonic work Marin op.60, composed from1963 to1970. Marin is considered to be one of the most significant Danish works of its time. The symphonic poem Marin uses the ocean as a subject of interpretation. The animation puts the work into a visual frame, providing a base for the eyes and mind, while experiencing the sound universe. This is a rare approach to symphonic works, building bridges between the audio and visual sensory system, and opening up new ways of experiencing the strong and astounding universe of Axel Borup-Jørgensen. The animation takes us to an underwater universe, inhabited by creatures called marenes, with whom we explore the auditory and visual world of MARIN. The movie, filled with symbols of the forces in human subconsciousness, is without a narrative, allowing the listener to experience the immediate sensations and the texture of the music rather than the timely development of the animation and the music. Many of the figures in the film are based on and inspired by Axel Borup-Jørgensen’s own drawings and figures. The premiere of Marin in 1970 with Danish National Symphony Orchestra was conducted by Herbert Blomstedt and the work was awarded the International Rostrum of Composers prize in Paris in 1970. Now, on the occasion of the MARIN animation film project, the music has been re-recorded by Danish National Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Thomas Søndergård, in the DR Concert Hall, produced by Preben Iwan and Mikkel Nymand. The recording is made in DXD format (352.8kHz/32 bit), the highest possible quality for digital audio, acommodating the richness in detail that characterizes the work of Axel Borup-Jørgensen and creating a sound experience out of the ordinary. Axel Borup-Jørgensens high attention to detail also occurs in the animation process, where each building, landscape, creature, piece of cloths and pattern is hand designed in a constant exchange between digital and physical working methods. The animation has been carried out by Lückow Film and an international team of animators directed by Morten Bartholdy. The animated film is adaptable to any live performance of the music. MARIN premiered on May 30th with a screening at the Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen and is released on OUR Recordings September 2017 as an item containing both CD and DVD. The CD will also include other works by Axel Borup-Jørgensen, and on the DVD will also be the film portrait AXEL (dur.39 min.) – a portrait of not only the composer, but of Danish modernism as an important period in contemporary Danish music, featuring interviews with other composers, collegues and friends Ib Nørholm, Per Nørgård, Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen and Finn Savery. Todays thoughts on hearing Marin, op. 60 By Agnete Hannibal Petri It’s like stepping into water for the first time. Soft, dry skin hesitantly meets the wet substance; a new state for the body, that has only ever known the feeling of being surrounded by light air. An eerie feeling, like the one that exists until the eyes get accustomed to the dark and the body understands the caressing of water surrounding it. A self protecting feeling of precaution. But the pupil expands and the body adapts to this new element, allowing one to navigate in the dark waters. And just like that, a new form of consciousness starts to grow. An awareness of the little things as a part of the greater whole, but also as valuable, individual components themselves worthy of attention. Listening to Marin introduces thoughts and emotions like this. The work is impressive, massive in its reach and at the same time so minimal and precise in its expression. One gains a deep respect for the importance of silence, as the absence of sound creates a longing for the instruments to finally play their part. This desire is met with waves of sound washing over the listener, quenching the thirst. The music recedes as suddenly as it appears, but always leaves behind a promise of the next variation, like the balance and dynamic between ebb and flood. It becomes a physical experience. The composition initiates pictures in the mind, but the recording itself is also sensible and affects the body throughout the listening. The crispness and clarity of the instruments is an auditory rarity in the recorded format and adds a new perspective to the work that is Marin. As the piece leaves open spaces for single standing elements, the texture of each instrument is highlighted, allowing the richness in detail to sharply cut through in the soundscape. This is heard in the flutes and the strings suddenly trickling and washing over everything, like the smallest drops of water escaping the biggest wave as it breaks and transforms to once again unite with the ocean that birthed it. It’s in the pulse of the percussion section, rising from its deep, reminding one of the many areas of the ocean never explored yet always present and alive. A slow drone pulsating like a heart, not necessarily leading towards a final climax, but rather embracing the constant variation and maintaining the ground for coming affairs. It’s about letting go and giving in. Just like a reed in a storm, bending is the key to not breaking. And so, listening to Marin is a form of practicing consideration and presence, of finding meaning in each moment and bravely entering the highly personal, yet seemingly universal experience that is Axel Borup-Jørgensen’s Marin.