A commission from The Danish Radio Big Band for the project "Tæt På" (Close Up) in February 2019. The task was to write a piece about a body part of free choice.
This live recording contains my introduction to the piece (in Danish) - the music starts at 1:55
(Video link below)
This is a piece was composed for the Danish Radio Big Band for "The Wild Flowers" project in 2016. The commission was to write about a flower from the Danish fauna, so I chose 'Æselfoder' (Onopordum Acanthium).
'Æselfoder' is a plant of the Thistle family, and it can grow 3 meters high with thick stems, covered in white, hairy thorns. It's mostly seen at landfills…
'Æselfoder' is also the National plant of Scotland, under the name 'Scottish Thistle'.
According to the legend, one night when the Vikings were sneaking in towards a Scottish village, one of them stepped on an Æselfoder and screamed out so loud that the villagers were warned, hence got the chance to protect themselves and drive the Vikings away.
'Æsel-foder' translates to Donkey Food.
Donkeys, being the only animal capable of actually eating the flowers, is said to love them due to the tasty nectar inside. (Later I found out that the Latin name actually describes what happens thereafter: Onos = donkey, perdo = flatulence!)
Here’s a live video recording of the piece, performed by the Danish Radio Big Band. Please press the button below and enjoy.
Annette Saxe was born in Norway in 1973. She grew up as a probably quite annoying little sister to her two older brothers, along with her parents, a cat, a dog, her grandmother and 130 sheep at a small farm based at the foot of a mountain, in the end of a fjord.
She started playing the piano at age 5, and joined the local school band on trumpet at 8. Three years later she surprised her parents one night bringing home a trombone after rehearsal, preceded by a period of having her friend stretch her arms to become long enough to be allowed to get it. Annette’s arms have been relatively long ever since.
The mountain sides and the mentality of the small town where everything centered around soccer and the big, dirty melting plant, tightened up around Annette as she grew older. The relief was groundbreaking in so many levels as she relocated to Stavanger in 1991, being accepted as a trombone student at the music conservatory there.
At the time Norway was split in the question of joining the EU or not, Annette joined in on a personal level, moving to Aarhus, Denmark to continue her studies in 1994. Finishing with an orchestral diploma at the age of 24, followed by a year in a Danish army band and two years in the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra, her parents were quite depressed over the path she’d chosen. Being unfamiliar with the artistic environment they feared that Annette would lead a terrible life of late nights and late mornings in black clothes, accompanied by red wine.
By the turn of the millennium they drew a big sigh of relief as the main Norwegian newspapers printed a note about the first Norwegian to get a job in the legendary Danish Radio Bigband. In addition, this was also the first female member of the band and her name had a funny resemblance with the name of their daughter.
Little did they know that this would lead Annette to even more late nights with even more red wine as she’s toured Europe with Maria Schneider, Ivan Lins and David Sanborn, Australia, Korea and Japan with Palle Mikkelborg as well as Canada and New York with Jim McNeely - amongst others.
Today they pay frequent visits to their three grandchildren in Denmark, appreciating that the kids are at good health not growing up in a mouldy basement, and happy to see Annette head for an even more secure lifestyle as she added studies for a Masters Degree in Conducting at the Royal Danish Music Conservatory of Copenhagen to her life, while having twins. The timing could’ve been better perhaps, but at least they feel confident that Annette isn’t sleeping her life away.