New album presents Niels Rønsholdt's prize-winning 'Country' with Jakob Kullberg as singing solo cellist
Composer Niels Rønsholdt widens the scope of his music and reimagines the country genre with the cello concerto Country, to be released on 19 November.
The lonesome cowboy is sitting by a blazing fire on the prairie. With lowered gaze, he holds his guitar in his hand. On his lips, melancholic ballads with titles such as We Don't Ride the Same Horse, Man of Honor and Gone Like a Turkey Through the Corn.
With the cello concerto Country, written for singing solo cellist and chamber orchestra, Niels Rønsholdt (b. 1978) is exploring and paraphrasing the American country music with all its stereotypes. The result is a very expressive work with a characteristic sound of Rønsholdt.
In Country, the singer-songwriter is called Jakob Kullberg and in the work we hear his extraordinary ability to play the cello ‘alla chitarra’, like a guitar, and his fine voice when he's singing the 18 ballad-like songs. Featured on the album is also the Polish Orkiestra Muzyki Nowej conducted by Szymon Bywalec, as well as vocalist Annekei.
Country is an example of the Niels Rønsholdt's ‘method composing’ approach. In many of his compositions, Rønsholdt is working deliberately with material that is not linked to his personal taste, his age or compositional expertise such as the country genre.
The music in Country swings back and forth between music which resembles pop and folk elements, the Romantic symphonic orchestral tradition and material which sounds closer to a film soundtrack.
When the listener is beginning to feel ‘at home’ in a particular musical idiom, the character changes. A mysterious sampler voice appears, a simple melody is changed into a text piece in an unending loop and the intimate country song becomes a jumble of various instrumental voices.
Internationally praised solist in a prize-winning work
Earlier this year, Niels Rønsholdt received the Danish Carl Prisen 2021 for Country. The album is recorded by multitalented cellist Jakob Kullberg, who is acknowledged for transcending the established notion of ‘the classical cellist’ as well as his performances of contemporary cello concertos. Jakob Kullberg was in 2021 nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize.