Introducing Maja S. K. Ratkje

Introducing Maja S. K. Ratkje
Photo © Ellen Lande Gossner

The Norwegian composer and vocal artist Maja S. K. Ratkje is one of the most original and exciting artists of the contemporary avant-garde scene worldwide. A member of the Academy of Arts, Berlin since 2017, Ratkje's compositions move outside conventions and create her very own profound worlds of sound. We would like to introduce you to this diverse and unique musician and composer by means of three orchestral works.

Concerto for Voice (moods IIIc) (2015) 25'
The unmistakable and unforgettably elegant austerity of Maja S. K. Ratkje's singing makes this work a showpiece of her creative work. The work arises from its contrast and interaction between the precisely composed, highly complex and unorthodox orchestral part and largely improvised vocal acrobatics. The sound textures resulting from the constant relationship between soloist and orchestra are multi-layered and go beyond any limits of the expected.
View score | Listen on YouTube (Sinfonietta-Version)

Tale of Lead and Frozen Light (2014) 15'
Originally written for string quartet and inspired by Beethoven's String Quartet Opus 59, the work was commissioned by Det Norske Kammerorkester after the events in Oslo and Utøya in July 2011. The atmospheric collage with which Ratkje captures these unimaginable events can be described as rapturously threatening to shimmeringly naive and peppered with cinematic horror film dissonances.
Ratkje meticulously dissects ordinary orchestral conventions and innovatively rearranges roles and playing techniques: She builds sound structures up into impetuous monsters, only to let them collapse and detach again shortly afterwards.
View score 

(Version for string quartet)

Paragraf 112 (2014) 7'
Paragraph 112 was created on the 200th anniversary of the Norwegian Constitution. The title is based on the so-called Environmental Paragraph, which defines the preservation and protection of the environment: as a governmental task and a right of the population. From a noisy beginning in short gestures the work develops into a powerful symphonic kaleidoscope.
Within a short period of time, a maelstrom emerges, which stands at the end like a powerful exclamation mark behind the paragraph on the protection and preservation of the environment.
Paragraph 112 is ideally placed at the beginning of the second concert half before another symphonic work.
View score 

Enjoy Maja S.K. Ratkje's TEDx Talk: One human voice as an orchestra of sounds

(Spring 2020)