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The Group for Intuitive Music originated in 1974 around the Copenhagen University Institute of Music with Jørgen Lekfeldt and his piano teacher, Elisabeth Klein, as the founder members. Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen, Anders Keiding and Niels Rosing-Schow, also students at the same place, joined the group. Pieces from Stockhausen's verbally notated collections From the Seven Days and For Times to Come constituted the group's first repertoire. Soon, however, it developed into a composer-performer group giving regular concert series. They focused on free, sometimes graphic compositions giving many kinds of frameworks for improvised performance.

Excerpt from Madison Music by Jørgen Lekfeldt. The wawing lines are originally blue and red.

Madison Music was composed during a journey to the USA and depicts both hectic activity and its counterpart of calmly wawing lines. The two versions here have been created independently of each other. The work is dedicated to Ivan Vincze. Edges is an experimental music group named after a piece by Chr. Wolff.

Mirror Labyrinth for four musicians utilises, like Wolff already did with his pioneering works from the sixties, interdependence between musicians as a structural element. Having played one element, one observes whether the two musicians of the opposite "team" are both playing or not and then chooses where to go accordingly.

The playing plan is read from both sides, depending on whether one belongs to team "A" or "B". This excerpt is seen from the side of team "B". Both players start in the upper left coner. After individually having played an element, one observes whether both members of the opposite team are playing. If this is the case, the next element to play must be in B+ - direction. If, however, at least one of the others take a rest at that moment, the direction to go must be B-. There are twelve elements in all, the two teams mirroring pitch directions up-down in their reading of them. Players vary elements in all parameters not notated and make rests ad lib. between elements, and there is no fixed number of elements to be played during the piece. - On the recording, Lene (toy flute and voice) and Carl (horn and voice) are team "B". On 0:47, they start performing the element at the lower left corner. © The Society for the Publication of Danish Music.


A Meditation On Inner Global Life was inspired by yoga meditation and yoga philosophy. It prescribes to have a "center" which is "pppp-p freely, interfering, calm". On can make departures from this center, for instance "make a telephone call about 1000 km away" or "let a message be taken slowly, as with a ship, just to somewhere".


Game of Contrasts is one out of a series of pieces printed on postcards.

From Game of Contrasts. Players start at box one and move on independently according to numbers.


The name of Cut it! Sark for accordion orchestra (minimum 6 players), refers to the idea of deconstruction (as a nescessary step in order to arrive at a more comprehensive view of things) - here, deconstruction of tonal material into collage structures.

Beginning of Cut it! Sark. © The Society for the Publication of Danish Music.


By the end of the seventies, the group for Intuitive Music began to split geographically. Jørgen Lekfeldt moved to Jutland and became a vicar after some years as a music teacher. In 1991 he published a dissertation on the utopian notions underlying the thinking of both Karlheinz Stockhausen and German theologist Dorothee Sölle. According to the author, there is a close connection between such notions with Stockhausen and others and the endeavour to give musical elements as well as different versions of the same work equal importance. Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen stayed near Copenhagen but began regular teaching at the Music Therapy education at Aalborg University in 1983 - in the subject of 'intuitive music' comprising free improvisation training and open composition, as well as in another subject concerning aural scores called 'graphic notation'.

The Group for Intuitive Music continued, however, to give concerts. It had several inspiring meetings with Karlheinz Stockhausen, and on his recommendation it appeared at 6. Tage neuer Musik in Weimar, 1993. It also inspired the forming of new groups. From around the middle of the eighties, a number of groups, one being a women's group, appeared in the cities of Copenhagen, Aalborg and Odense under the same or similar names.



Ivan Vincze joined the Group for Intuitive Music in 1982. Taking a Walk follows the tradition of Stockhausen's text compositions - around which Stockhausen coined the term "intuitive music" in 1968. Players are instructed to think of actual walks they have done, select one and give musical expression to it. This done, they should individually treat themselves to "tones that contribute to your contentment".

The Bela Hamvas Group for Intuitive Music was formed by Ivan Vincze in 1995. Vincze has an extensive career as a bratschist in various orchestras and ensembles and studied composition with Dieter Schnebel. The other members of the BHGIM are mostly exile Hungarians (including Nah Te) and were amateur musicians from the beginning. Jens Balder comes, however, from the Danish avant-jazz scene. Bela Hamvas was a Hungarian philosopher.

The musical elements of Summer-Swings and Jumps are summer-swings, high jumps, deep jumps and long jumps as defined graphically by the composer. The following excerpt shows two summer-swings, four different deep jumps, one long jump and a high jump:

Excerpt from near the beginning of one of the four parts (0:30 - 1:56 on the recording - piano and drum). The three staves indicate high, middle and low registers. Each part contains around forty elements to play and some rests with indicated relative lengths. Tempo and dynamics are free, and all elements are to be played. - Below is the whole score (excerpt quoted appears right at the top). The first four "systems" read from above with the four parts are continued in the next four ones. © The Society for the Publication of Danish Music.


jørgen plaetner is known as a pioneer of Danish electronic music, as a composer of numerous pedagogical works involving a large number of participants and as a composer of chamber music. He used his insight in educational work and his sense of humour when composing 188 pieces in short format for improvisation calendar, to which he took the initiative. October 6 is from this collection. The titles of the pieces are the dates of the year. Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen composed another 188 pieces to make it cover the whole year.



First throwing Second throwing

begin quietly with a little seed.

dynamic form aiming at a climax

but no fast passages

fast and lightly

hot-tempered and aggressively heavily (mesto)

hesitatingly modal
• •

• •

maestoso stick to pp
• •

• •

very syncopated
• •

• •

• •

fast passages interrupted by long pauses long tones/sounds

rhythm patterns difficult to define

From jørgen plaetner: October 6 from improvisation calendar, first two of three sections

(transl. by cbn). © The Society for the Publication of Danish Music.


Winter Music consists of 13 sheets to be played in any selection and order, of which six are played here. 


First two sheets from Winter Music heard on the recording (next four are: K, H, G and J. © The Society for the Publication of Danish Music.


All the works here are concerned with innovative musical notations - see back of CD-box for specifications. Those of tracks 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 are available at the Society for the Publication of Danish Music, Graabroedrestraede 18, DK-1156 Copenhagen K, Most of them have both Danish and English text - please inquire.

To read more about Danish experimental music, you could visit (situated at Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen's homepage).

Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen.




1. Madison Music (1976). Group for Intuitive Music (Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen, French Horn (also w. bassoon reed) - Anders Keiding, bassoon - Jørgen Lekfeldt, piano).

Gent, Belgium (live at 7. Mixed-Media Festival), Febr. 24, 1977. 3:40

2. Madison Music (1976). Members of Edges (please see below under 5.) Copenhagen (live at the Radio House) May 25, 1997. 4:10. Free graphic notation.

3. Mirror Labyrinth (1997). Group for Intuitive Music (Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen, horn, voice, small instruments - Lene Duus, voice, small instr. - Jørgen Lekfeldt, piano - Ivan

Vincze, viola). Godthåb, Sept. 1, 1997. 13:40. Sign system with graphic elements.



4. A Meditation on Inner Global Life (1977). Group for Intuitive Music (Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen, horn (also w. bassoon reed), mouth organ, pennywhistle - Jørgen Lekfeldt, Moog-synthesizer - Niels Rosing-Schow, cello). Holbæk (live at the Centre for Experimental Music and Drama), Aug. 8, 1979. 6:55. Recorded by the Danish Radio. Sound producer: Per Erik Veng. Sign system with graphic and verbal elements.

5. Game of Contrasts (1980). Edges (UK) (Paul Bevan, trombone - Robert Coleridge, piano - Martin Harrison, perc. and objects - Agathe Kaehr, flute - Ross Lorraine, violin - Katherine Pluygers, oboe, cor anglais7 - David Ryan, clarinets, perc. - Tony Wren, contrabass). Copenhagen (live at the Radio House), May 25, 1997. 7:50. Sign system with verbal elements.

6. Cut it! Sark (1995). Birkerød Harmonika Orkester. (Conductor: Charlotte B. Hansen). Birkerød (live at Manziussalen) Nov. 26, 1995. 7:10. Documentation recording by the Danish Music Council/ Danish Music Information Centre. Sound technician: Torben Krogh. Score with time indications, aleatoric and free graphic elements.



7. Taking a Walk (1994) (Spaziergang, für kleines Ensemble). Group for Intuitive Music (Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen, French horn, mouth organ, pennywhistle - Lene Duus, voice, toy flute - Jørgen Lekfeldt, piano - Ivan Vincze, viola). Godthåb, Oct. 8, 2000. 6:20. Verbal notation.

8. Summer-Swings and Jumps (1996). (Sommerschaukel und Sprünge, graphische Musik für 4 Spieler). Béla Hamvas Group for Intuitive Music (Ildikó Ungváry, Jens Balder, László B. Kovács, Ivan Vincze). Copenhagen (live at Medborgerhuset, Kapelvej), Oct. 30, 1997. 5:55. Sign system with graphic elements on a time axis.


jørgen plaetner (b.1930):

9. Winter Music (1994). Edges (please see above under "Game of Contrasts". Copenhagen (live at the Radio House), May 25, 1997. 8:05. Free graphic notations with verbal instructions.

10. October 6th (1996). Lin Ensemble (John Ehde (cello), Erik Kaltoft (piano), Jens Schou (clarinet). Växjö (live at Norrtullskolan), Oct. 6, 1996. 6:50. Verbal and graphic instructions according to a dice being thrown. // (P) and © 2000.


This recording is made in cooperation with the Danish Broadcasting Corporation.



DANISH INTUITIVE MUSIC (Intuitive Recs. - 2001): I would really love to know more about intuitive music. The Group for Intuitive Music was founded in Copehagen Univerity Institute of Music in 1974 and it inludes such great musicians as Jørgen Lekfeld, Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen and Elisabeth Klein. As one can see in the booklet this people use different ways of expressing, musically and in paper (I would love knowing how to read their partitures). There are in this CD three works by Jørgen Lekfeldt, three by Carl Bergstrøm-Nielsen, two tracks by Ivan Eugen Vincze and two by Jørgen Plaetner and the recordings feature things from the seventies like "Madison Music" or "A Meditation on Inner Global Life" up to the nineties "October 6th" and "Taking a Walk". Here the experimentation with instruments, vocals and whatever they can is the main feature. I find this recording very interesting with extremely great musicianship and it looks like this people is always anxious to discover new lands in the music world. Contact: ...

Federico Marongiu / Music Extreme  

Danish Intuitive Music
(Intuitive: IRCD003)
Compositions by Jorgen Lekfeld, Carl Bergstrom-Nielsen, Ivan Eugen Vincze, Jorgen Plaetner
Alterations Live
(Intuitive: IRCD001)
Steve Beresford, Peter Cusack, Terry Day, David Toop (various instruments)

Intuitive is a new label documenting the fertile Danish scene which unites compositions for improvisors with a notion of "intuitive" performance derived from Stockhausen's '60s flirtation with Zen. The metaphysics may be dodgy, but the associated annual festival has resulted in two very impressive CDs already (see DIMC and DIMC2), and these issues are equaly intriguing (a third release by Rohstoff is reviewed separately).

"Danish Intuitive Music" itself is a compilation of ten pieces by the four composers. The recordings are, perhaps bizarrly, garnered from the mid-'70s and the mid-'90s, and quite possibly represent the highlights of a long-standing private collection. The "compositions" all consist of either graphic scores -- the kind which have wiggly lines strewn across some score paper, for the musicians to interpret how they will -- or vague verbal instructions. The result is that, as you might expect, compositional logic is hard to find, and two performances of the same piece will sound wildly different.

This is made abundantly clear by the two realisations of Lekfeldt's "Madison Music", a score of the squiggly line variety.. The first is by far the more satisfactory, with Anders Keiding's bassoon joining the composer at the piano and Bergstrom-Nielsen on French Horn for an intensely linear workout. When the Edges contemporary music group tried it two decades later, however, they seem to have left out the squiggles entirely and the music is much less characterful. "Mirror Labyrinth", again featuring the composer and Bergstrom-Nielsen but this time with Ivan Vincze and singer Lene Duus, is a longer, more varied piece which is full of pleasant surprises.

Bergstrom-Nielsen will be the most familiar of these names to regular readers. His "A Meditation on Inner Global Life" is as laid-back and, well, meditative as the title suggests, but it's not lazy and the results are genuinely lovely while packing in plenty of interest. Edges return for a performance of "Game of Contrasts", which has an unpromisingly simplistic score. All the more surprising, then, that they attack it with such vigour; the group deserve at least half of the credit for the success of this track, and while it sounds a bit post-serialism-by-numbers it's an enjoyable ride. His final piece, the bizarrely-entitled "Cut it! Sark", is for accordion orchestra, and is both indescribably beautiful and full of excitement.

Ivan Vincze's pair of compositions are very odd. The "score" for "Taking a Walk" instructs the players to imagine a favourite walk and "give musical expression to it". The results of such things, of course, have very little to do with the composer, although in this case Vincze plays viola in the same group which performed Lekfeldt's "Mirror Labyrinth". The music here is a lot more sparse, and some listeners will find it rather more effective for that. The second composition is based on the literal melodic realisation of some extremely simple graphic shapes. The score looks very pleasing; the music itself seems a bit gimmicky at first, but it's strangely hypnotic and, like "Taking a Walk", it has a naivete (even a nostalgia) which is refreshing and very likeable.

Jorgen Plaetner's music is probably the most conventionally "classical" of the work represented here. "Winter Music" is full of drama, and well played by Edges, although again one wonders, looking at the score with its apparent absence of specific instructions, how much credit the composer can really be accorded for this, or even whether it counts as a composition at all. Either way, the music, which falls into a sequence of brief, unconnected segments, is well done. His "October 6th", it has to be said, sounds quite similar, except that the performers are more interested in melodic development, making the music, to this writer's ears, more inventive and rather less risk-averse. Again, the credit goes to the Lin Ensemble, who could almost certainly have performed with piece without having ever heard of Jorgen Plaetner, but regardless of that it's fearsomely intelligent music played with great commitment.

The issue of how much the composer is involved in the creation of music like this is, really, rather a red herring. The point seems to be simply that the music gets played, and whether the composer prescribes pitches and durations or just suggests frames of mind is neither here nor there. If the notion of "intuitive music" is one which requires a certain amount of aesthetic unpacking, however, the music here is generally direct, dynamic and full of invention.

Richard Cochrane,

A review by Pepsch Muska in German in Austrian magazine Jazzlive is here.
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