Photo: Kåre Viemose

Niels Rønsholdt (DK)

Songs of Doubt

Niels Rønsholdt is nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize 2020 for the work “Songs of doubt”, Song Cycle (2016).

Songs of Doubt, with the subtitle Prospect/retrospect, is a study of the state of doubt – the existential doubt that arises when you must take a crucial choice in life: when you instinctively know you must dare to step/allow yourself to fall forward into the unknown, but at the same time your resolve is disturbed and you are drawn back into the memory of the known. 

In the songs, this doubt and hesitation is contrasted with perpetual nature, further emphasising the fallibility and inadequacy of mankind. This is expressed through an accomplished and original soundscape, in which the ondes martenot provides both some extra hyper-human colour and a contrast to the human. The back-and-forth division of doubt is reflected in concrete terms in the text, which is occasionally sung backwards, as well as in the effective ‘backward’ technique of the ondes martenot.

Songs of Doubt stands as a collection of strange, breathtakingly beautiful and deeply emotional musical statements about one of the fundamental conditions of being human: doubt and the states that doubt calls forth in us.

Song cycle for solo singer, choir and ondes martenot. Lyrics by Niels Rønsholdt.Roderik Povel, Studium Chorale, Nathalie Forget - Hans Leenders, conductor