Trembling Superheroes

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Trembling Superheroes

Portrait concert devised for and with
Esbjerg Ensemble

First performed at Hofteatret /Wundergrund festival, Copenhagen, 25th October 2014
by Esbjerg Ensemble with Tanja Zapolski

"A portrait concert of work by Berlin-based British-via-Denmark artist Juliana Hodkinson, in which children’s toys conversed with Schoenbergian piano music, and West-bank bombs met fog horns" - Michael Cutting, The Sampler

Using toys, feathers, matches, shells, heavy metal, stones and water alongside classical instruments and field recordings sourced from environs both political and domestic, Juliana Hodkinson’s chamber works encourage musicians to pursue a journey that brings together heterogeneous elements and sonic non-sequiturs in moments of alternating contrast and fusion.

Scratching and scraping from the tiniest of sounds at the threshold of silence through to the brutal roar of metals and motors, the scale and range of the works varies from extreme reduction to overload. Romantic Nordic seascapes are punctured by the sounds of gunshots fired in Gazan waters; toy robots interrupt nursery rhymes in a Webernian setting. The perennial themes of life and art’s basic existential quandries pose themselves in sound with tragi-comic naivety, precision and persistence, taking the listener from the musical cradle to very close by the grave.

This portrait concert combines acoustic, semi-theatrical and electro-acoustic works dating from 1999 to 2014, and features Juliana Hodkinson’s electro-acoustic seascape work, written specially for Esbjerg Ensemble,THE COASTLINE PIECE III: WEST, commissioned by Esbjerg Ensemble and Klangspuren Festival, Austria, in 2014.


• ALL THAT WE CANNOT SAY (2001) (c. 10 min), for oboe, cello and matches (tbc)
• WHY LINGER YOU TREMBLING IN YOUR SHELL? (1999) (10 min), for violin and percussion, with feathers, egg-shells and table-tennis balls
• WHEN THE WIND BLOWS (2009) (4 min), for solo piano with toys and audio playback
• RING A RING (2014) (3 min), for solo piano with electronic pocket piano
• SCRAPE (2009) (10 min), for solo amplified and distorted cello with metal plate and industrial audio samples
• ALL MY FRIENDS REALLY ARE SUPERHEROES (2011) (6 min), for solo horn with audio samples
• THE COASTLINE PIECE III: WEST (2014) (20 min), for amplified ensemble, beach-objects and field recordings

Running time, attacca: 70 minutes

A compact version of Trembling Superheroes, is being developed in collaboration with Nordic Music Days 2015, suitable for younger audiences; running time 45 minutes.

70 minutes
No. of musicians: 
with electronics