Nick Martin



nick martin


The relationship to the young and talented English composer Nick Martin, began when he studied together with the quartet at the Royal Danish Academy of Music. Nick’s tonal language expresses a clear nordic timbre and atmosphere. Though friendship and musicianship they found themselves working together, as Nick Martin interpreted the danish lyrical hymn “Tit er jeg glad” by Carl Nielsen for the quartets debut record.

Nick Martin is one of the promising current composers, working with Copenhagen Philharmonic Orchestra and Ensemble Intercompentorain amongst others. He is currently living in Helsinki, Finland.


Since the summer of 2015, when they worked on the danish hymn `Tit er jeg glad´, Nick has been writing a substantial piece called ‘Vanitas’, which is dedicated to Halvcirkel. This piece is for string quartet and electronics, and will consist of three contrasting movements, with a total duration of approximately 30 minutes. The music blurs boundaries between ‘folk’, ‘pop’ and ‘modern classical’ music in an organic way.

1st Movement : Mix Tape

The first movement is an evocation the summer solstice. Or rather, it is part evocation, part fantasy of a midsummer evening / night in a subarctic forest. Whilst I was sketching this movement, I also searched for a suitable title, and I read the following inspiring biographical text by Pauline Hogstrand, the violist in the quartet, that instantly gave me the title ‘Mix Tape’ :

”Growing up in the arctic part of Sweden, I was always surrounded by nature. When the meter thick ice on the ocean breaks in spring, strong as rock, the sound is like nothing comparable, and the vibrations goes straight into your core. Or looking up at the crisp skies. It is vibrant differences between cold and warm, hard and soft, solid and transparent. It’s energy that everything contains. Night by night, i stayed up forgetting all about time in the mid summer solstice, making mix tapes of music and sounds, and I had a dream that I would be on that tape someday.”

duration : 12 minutes


2nd Movement : Soma

The second movement has the subtitle ‘Soma’. In Hinduism the word Soma refers both to the god of the moon and the elixir of immortality, which is believed to somehow derive from the moon itself. The gods are thought to drink this elixir night by night and therefore the moon is seen to be waning. Traditionally, when humans try to obtain this sacred drink (possibly using the cannabis plant), naturally they prepare it when the moon is full.

duration : 6 minutes


3rd Movement : Love Song

The third movement, like the first, is connected to a time of year, in this case with the winter solstice. Each winter I become a Sun worshipper; during the limited hours of daylight I ritualistically go out to the highest point I can find, and I stand still on the spot for sometimes up to an hour, bathing in the light. One midwinter’s morning, I was 40, 000 feet above the ground, sitting on the left-hand-side of a plane that was flying from Helsinki to London. As we flew over Holland I saw the low December sun reflected, like a vast sheet of gold, on a river delta. This gold, to my mind, was certainly the illusory Rhinegold.

duration : 12 minutes