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SUITE (2014-2018) for ensemble

Just before the Danish first performance of SUITE with ensemble recherche @ KLANG Festival / Photo: Alexander Banck-Petersen


The night and the darkness fascinate me. It’s like the night helps you to forget and remember at the same time.

Things, which you didn’t notice during the day, stand out and attract your attention – and details, that seemed very important in daylight, disappear in the shadows and become insignificant.

I like to think that the day and daylight force you to be honest with others – the night and darkness force you to be honest with yourself.

In SUITE I have worked with shadows and distortion. Material is placed in registers on the different instruments so they sound similar and become a sort of doppelgänger of each other.

To create an atmosphere of longing and suspense the material evolve very slowly, but persistently, and the musicians are also forced to play in uncomfortable registers for a long time.

In some places the music is almost only a shadow of itself and only pitchless rhythm structures are visible, like a ghost of something that once was.

SUITE is dedicated to ensemble recherche.

Allan Gravgaard Madsen, May 2019

“[SUITE] is related to [Gravgaard’s] double concerto, which the Danish National Symphony Orchestra premiered last year, where everything grows out of a very long series of repetitions of a single note. Where the intensity increases and increases, while the movements get shorter and shorter. This gave a unique, dramatic form.

Henrik Friis, Politiken, November 5th 2020


In SUITE and my double concerto Nachtmusik, I work with what I call the “accellerando-form”.

Over the course of the five movements, the duration of the movements goes from 10 mins to merely a glimpse of only 1 second.

SUITE is in five movements:

  • I. Ouverture (2016) for ensemble, 10:00
  • II. Air I (2014-2015) for piccolo and strings, 8:00
  • III. Gigue (2018) for percussion and winds, 2:30
  • IV. Air II (2014-2015) for piccolo and strings, 0:50
  • V. Réjouissance (2018) for ensemble, 0:01

fun fact

Ouverture, Air I & II, and Gigue can be performed individually.

Réjouissance can potentially also be performed as an appendix to Ouverture.

“The impression of satanic tiptoeing is present all the time.“

Peter Johannes Erichsen, Weekendavisen, January 15th 2021

Applause after the concert @ Warsaw Autumn in 2018, where ensemble recherche premiered my complete SUITE.

“I’m still trying to decide whether Allan Gravgaard Madsen‘s SUITE was simply the wrong piece of music at the wrong time or just a poor piece of music full stop.”

Simon Cummings, 5:4, November 19th 2019


  • First performed by ensemble recherche at the Witold Lutosławski Polish Radio Concert Studio, Warsaw, 22.09.18, during Warsaw Autumn.
  • Instrumentation: / / perc (1) / pno /
  • Duration: ca. 24:00

First movement, Ouverture, was commissioned by ensemble recherche and the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung.

“[SUITE] exists in the extreme registers on the traditional instruments. It was both interesting, fragile and well-sounding …

Mads Hæsum Christensen, Seismograf.org, November 4th 2020

“[Gravgaard Madsen] shows just how brilliant he is, when he creates music based on Bach’s 18th century material.”

Thomas Michelsen, Politiken, June 4th 2020

SUITE on album

Polish Music Information Centre and Warszawska Jesień / Warsaw Autumn included SUITE in a 10 CD-box set with recordings from the 2018-edition of the festival, where ensemble recherche premiered the piece.

The box-set is not commercially released.