Hanne Ørvad (1945-2013)

"I am a singer and a writer of music, and my natural mode of expression is music and sound. I think in sounds and tones, and I produce them, partly in the form of sung sounds and partly as heard, written-down sounds. And it's a long way from that to the spoken word."

Hanne Ørvad gave these words at the beginning of a lecture she gave about her music in the autumn of 2000. At that time Ørvad had been working as a composer for just under ten years, and as a professional singer in the Danish National Chamber Choir/DR for almost 25 years. In one way or another there had always been music, and above all, singing in Ørvad's life, and there are over 50 titles on her worklist. The human voice is used in the majority of them, and a quarter of them are choral works.

Although in the above quote she swears more to music than to words, words in fact often function as a driving force in her music. The words, both their content and expression, gave her the inspiration for the music. Texts often supply the meanings that Hanne Ørvad uses to articulate the musical context, and this means both the thoughts and utterances that are inherent in the words, and the particular expression of the actual spoken sounds. The clash of consonants, the colours of vowels, the rhythms of words to a great extent provide the material for the works. In this way Ørvad's music becomes entirely her own, because one feels one can directly sense the many listenings, interpretations and decisions that were necessary to get the music to sound.