With his vocally anchored and expressive music, Thomas Jennefelt is one of our most established contemporary composers. Already at the age of 22, he composed one of his most successful choral works, the dramatic and provocative oneWarning to the Rich, and almost half a century later, Jennefelt's orchestral works, chamber music and operas have been played on the big stages around the world. He has created his own language, made apartment opera and portrayed the horrors of war. With his long experience as a singer in Eric Ericson's Chamber Choir, he has a solid knowledge of the voice and its expressive possibilities. His catalog of choral music is large and rich, and is constantly expanding with new commissions from top European choirs.

Thomas Jennefelt grew up in Stuvsta south of Stockholm. He started singing early, took singing lessons, wrote poetry, went to cultural high school" Södra Latin, acted in theater, was editor of the school's literary magazine and trained as a music teacher at the Academy of Music in Stockholm, where he also created electronic music under the direction of Lars-Gunnar Bodin and went the composition class for, among others, the composers Gunnar Bucht and Arne Mellnäs. He was a music writer for several newspapers, made radio programs for Musikradion and sang in professional choirs. He was a member of Eric Ericson's Chamber Choir for over 20 years and also its chairman. Here he constantly came into close contact with new choral music and learned a lot about what you can and cannot expect from both amateur choirs and professional choir singers. About how you can exceed limits and what purely physical demands you can place on a singing voice in the design of phrases and individual words' vowels and consonants.


Today, Thomas Jennefelt is, in addition to everything else, our most performed contemporary choral composer with a large number of requested works at Gehrmans Musikförlag, orders from most of the choirs in the Swedish top tier as well as from Bayerische Rundfunkchor, The Swingle Singers, Kammerchor Saarbrücken, Ex Cathedra in Birmingham, Microkosmos (Vierzon) and Musikhochschule Basel. His debut withWarning to the RichIn 1977 - to a dramatic and provocative text from Jacob's letter in the Bible for choir a cappella and baritone solo - received an extremely positive reception among both Swedish choirs and outside the country's borders.Warning to the Richscourges our longing for the gluttony of wealth and warns of the hideous punishments that await the insatiable. In 1983, an equally popular but completely different choral piece followed, the requiem movementO Lord, which initially describes our relationship with death in a "discontinuous" collage technique. In the end, the music grows and broadens, takes over the fragmented parts and everything becomes understandable and comforting. In 1987 came hisFive Motetsto texts by Swedish poets and from the Bible - a suite of five dialogues between God and man - popular choral movements that are part of the repertoire of many choirs.

During the 1990s, Jennefelt developed the musical drama, instrumental and choral music. When he inDichterliebe IXfrom 1990 tackled the first ten poems of Heinrich Heine, which Schumann also used in his sixteen-movement solo song cycle, it was with a textual interpretation quite different from that of the Romantic. Here, a choir distorts the idyllic text with irony and blackness in violent outbursts of horror, powerlessness and lovelessness. And if you read the text with the baggage of our time in the back of your mind, you can understand Thomas Jennefelt's entry. Everything is there - already at Heine.


So what did the composer do after this mighty textual gluttony? He createdMusic for a big church; to rest for the 100th anniversary of St. John's Church in Stockholm in 1990, an instrumental vocal work, completely without lyrics... And he wrote his six revolutionaryVillarosa sequences1993-1996 to self-invented Latin/Italian-influenced text, which undulates in a perfectly cast fusion of the vocal and consonant sounds of the a cappella choir and the soprano soloist with its music. Expressive and harmonious without the guidance of text comprehension. "Certain words can still suddenly become significant," he says in an interview, "more from a musical perspective, not from a semantic one. I want to find a musical way forward through the text. Despite this longing, my pieces strangely become more and more theatrical. Apparently words always breed drama.”

...In recent years, Jennefelt, in collaboration with the author Magnus Florin, has written a large number of music-dramatic scenes, all of which focus on the possibility of expanding an opera's venues.At our placewas played in 2012 in a number of apartments in Stockholm and Berlin and the independent continuationSee youexplored the spaces of suburbia (2015). Opera Sightseeingis in production in 2024.

This is an excerpt from Gunilla Petersén's text - There is a voice in the melody arcs.

Read Gunilla Petersén's entire text about Thomas Jennefelt
(2008, updated by Gehrmans 2024)

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