The Monster/Monsteret

Listen to String Quartet no.1 first Movement: Bulbs (extract)

I grew up in a typical Danish single-family house.

A very typical thing is the long corridor in the middle of the house,

with a multitude of doors leading into rooms, toilets, storage rooms

and even, a main entrance/exit.

 

The hallway was without windows, so in the evening, when we had to sleep and the light was turned off,

it was dark as the grave, but at the same time the only link

for contact with the outside world – parents, siblings, nannies.

 

Out in the hallway stood a Bornholmer clock. It stood down at the end, so it,

like another Matron could oversee and thereby control the entire corridor.

 

A monster lived inside the Bornholm clock. I never saw it, but know what it looked like.

A kind of troll-like creature, with weathered hair, big clumsy teeth, huge nose and not least: Evil eyes and evil intentions.
I was terrified and often couldn’t sleep.


My room was next to the living room. Just on the other side of the wall was the grand piano.

I remember that my father often sat and played after we went to bed.
The only piece of music I still remember is George Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue,

which my father played in an alternately sailing and swinging version.
It helped.

 

But the evenings when my father sat in the cave and worked there was quiet.

completely silent, except for the ticking of the Bornholmer clock,

which turned into rhythmic steps from monster feet.

 

There I lay, with the light on and the duvet over my head.

In front of the nose was a small peep hole. My eyes and ears were on stalks.

I could close my eyes, but not my ears, and even if I gathered the duvet so tightly around my head from the muffled sound,

the sound was still inside my head.
It wasn’t fantasy – it was reality.


But then I came up with something – maybe it just happened. I started making music.
Groups of violins, cellos, trumpets, percussion, clarinets emerged – yes, a whole symphony orchestra.
Groups of instruments that organized themselves into floating, luminous blocks.

 

I was the composer and watched it from the conductor’s seat,

but with the instruments floating in the air – a firmament of sound.
Here I lay composing large, beautiful symphonic works

that enveloped my field of hearing and vision.

 

The music contained my anxiety and dissolved it and I found peace

and a friend for life.

The Monster

I grew up in a typical Danish single-family house.

A very typical thing is the long corridor in the middle of the house,

with a multitude of doors leading into rooms, toilets, storage rooms

and even, a main entrance/exit.

 

The hallway was without windows, so in the evening, when we had to sleep and the light was turned off,

it was dark as the grave, but at the same time the only link

for contact with the outside world – parents, siblings, nannies.

 

Out in the hallway stood a Bornholmer clock. It stood down at the end, so it,

like another Matron could oversee and thereby control the entire corridor.

 

A monster lived inside the Bornholm clock. I never saw it, but know what it looked like.

A kind of troll-like creature, with weathered hair, big clumsy teeth, huge nose and not least: Evil eyes and evil intentions.
I was terrified and often couldn’t sleep.


My room was next to the living room. Just on the other side of the wall was the grand piano.

I remember that my father often sat and played after we went to bed.
The only piece of music I still remember is George Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue,

which my father played in an alternately sailing and swinging version.
It helped.

 

But the evenings when my father sat in the cave and worked there was quiet.

completely silent, except for the ticking of the Bornholmer clock,

which turned into rhythmic steps from monster feet.

 

There I lay, with the light on and the duvet over my head.

In front of the nose was a small peep hole. My eyes and ears were on stalks.

I could close my eyes, but not my ears, and even if I gathered the duvet so tightly around my head from the muffled sound,

the sound was still inside my head.
It wasn’t fantasy – it was reality.


But then I came up with something – maybe it just happened. I started making music.
Groups of violins, cellos, trumpets, percussion, clarinets emerged – yes, a whole symphony orchestra.
Groups of instruments that organized themselves into floating, luminous blocks.

 

I was the composer and watched it from the conductor’s seat,

but with the instruments floating in the air – a firmament of sound.
Here I lay composing large, beautiful symphonic works

that enveloped my field of hearing and vision.

 

The music contained my anxiety and dissolved it and I found peace

and a friend for life.

Monsteret (Danish version)

Jeg er opvokset i et typisk typehus. En meget typisk ting er den lange gang midt huset,

med et væld af døre der leder ind til værelser, toiletter, opbevaringsrum og enda, en hovedindgang/udgang.

 

Gangen var uden vinduer så om aftenen, når vi skulle sove og lyset blev slukket var den mørk som graven,

men samtidig det eneste forbindelsesled til kontakt med omverden – forældre, søskende, barnepiger.

 

Ude i gangen stod et bornholmerur. Den stod nede for enden,

så det, som en anden oldfrue kunne overskue og derved kontrollere hele gangen.
Inde i bornholmeruret boede en monster. Jeg så det aldrig, men ved hvordan det så ud.

En slags troldeligende skabning, med forvitret hår, store klodsede tænder,

kæmpe næse og ikke mindst: Onde øjne og onde hensigter.
Jeg var rædselsslagen og ofte kunne jeg ikke sove.

 

Mit værelse lå op til stuen.

Lige på den anden side af væggen stod flyglet. Jeg husker,

at min far ofte sad og spillede efter vi har smidt i seng.
Det eneste stykke musik jeg stadig erindrer er George Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue,

som min far spillede i skiftevis sejlende og swingende version.
Det hjalp.

 

Men de aftener hvor min far sad i hulen og arbejdede var der stille. helt stille,

bortset fra bornholmerurets slag, der blev til rytmiske skridt fra monsterfødder.
Der lå jeg, med lyset tændt og dynen over hovedet. Foran næsen var et lille kighul.

Mine øjne og ører var på stilke.

 

Jeg kunne lukke øjnene, men ikke ørerne og selv hvis jeg samlede dynen så tæt omkring hovedet,

at den dæmpede lyden var der jo lyden inde i mit hoved.
Det var ikke fantasi – det var virkelighed.

 

Men så fandt jeg på noget – måske opstod det bare.

Jeg begyndte at lave musik.
Frem kom grupper af violiner, celloer, trompeter, slagtøj, klarinetter – ja et helt symfoniorkester.
Grupper af instrumenter der organiserede sig i svævende, lysende blokke.
Jeg var komponisten og så det fra dirigentens plads,

men med instrumenterne svævende oppe i luften – et firmament af lyd.

 

Her lå jeg og komponerede store, smukke symfoniske værker der omsluttede mit høre- og synsfelt.

 

Musikken inddæmmede min angst og opløste den og jeg fik fred

og en ven for livet.