Danish String Quartet: Tiny Desk Concert The Danish String Quartet doesn't live on Brahms and Beethoven alone. Watch the versatile group play Danish folk tunes, from centuries-old Fanø wedding dances to traditional Roskilde reels.

Tiny Desk

Danish String Quartet

Danish String Quartet: Tiny Desk Concert

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/358355386/358547616" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

An abundance of facial hair is not restricted to the sensitive male indie-rocker set. Three of the four players in the Danish String Quartet could easily pass for hipster Brooklyn beard farmers. "We are simply your friendly neighborhood string quartet with above average amounts of beard," the group's website says.

Yet what's really important about the ensemble is how they play — and judging from this performance behind Bob Boilen's desk, these Nordic lads possess warmth, wit, a beautiful tone and technical prowess second to none.

Like most string quartets, they thrive on classics by Brahms, Beethoven, Haydn and the like. But this group recently took a musical detour that landed them in the foggy inlets of the Faroe Islands (a Danish outpost halfway between Norway and Iceland) and various Nordic hamlets where folk tunes are played and passed on.

"Folk music is the music of small places," the quartet notes on its new album Wood Works, which includes the tunes in this concert. "It is the local music, but as such it is also the music of everyone and everywhere." You don't own folk music, the band believes, you simply borrow it for a while.

Violinists Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen and Frederik Øland, violist Asbjørn Nørgaard and cellist Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin begin with a set of wedding tunes, some dating back some 400 years and still in use today. Then they pair up an old Danish dance that feels like an Irish jig with a traditional Danish reel from near their home base, Copenhagen. And to close, a slow, evocative wedding dance, in a wistful arrangement by their friend Nikolaj Busk that conjures a lonely fjord shrouded in mist.

The young musicians may only be borrowing this music, but we're awfully pleased they lent a little of it to us.

Program

  • Traditional: Ye Honest Bridal Couple — Sønderho Bridal Trilogy Parts I & II
  • Traditional: Sekstur from Vendsyssel — The Peat Dance
  • Traditional (arr. Nikolaj Busk): Sønderho Bridal Trilogy Part III

Danish String Quartet

Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen and Frederik Øland, violin

Asbjørn Nørgaard, viola

Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin, cello

Credits

Producers: Bob Boilen, Tom Huizenga, Maggie Starbard; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Colin Marshall, Maggie Starbard, Susan Hale Thomas; Assistant Producer: Nick Michael

[+] read more[-] less

More From Tiny Desk

Fabiano do Nascimento plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Fabiano Do Nascimento (Home) Concert

The Brazilian-born guitarist performs a peace-inducing concert from his home in Los Angeles.

Coreyah plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Coreyah (Home) Concert

The Seoul-based sextet performs music that blends Korean traditional music with modern sounds.

M. Ward plays a Tiny Desk (Home) concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

M. Ward (Home) Concert

The acclaimed guitarist (and masculine half of She & Him) performed seven songs in his Tiny Desk quarantine concert.

Madame Gandhi plays a Tiny Desk (Home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Madame Gandhi (Home) Concert

Watch the drummer and activist perform three songs for our Tiny Desk quarantine series.

Sudan Archives plays a Tiny Desk concert. Kisha Ravi/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Kisha Ravi/NPR

Sudan Archives

Sudan Archives draws inspiration from Irish and African traditional music. Watch her channel both in this Tiny Desk concert.

Hamilton Leithauser & Family play a Tiny Desk (Home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Hamilton Leithauser & Family (Home) Concert

The Walkmen frontman gathers his children and a few haystacks for a special Father's Day edition of Tiny Desk.

Benny The Butcher plays a Tiny Desk (Home) concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Benny The Butcher (Home) Concert

Benny The Butcher, one third of Griselda, performs a short set in his living room, with help from BSF labelmates Rick Hyde and Heem.

Little Dragon plays a Tiny Desk (Home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Little Dragon (Home) Concert

The Swedish funk foursome perform songs from its latest album, New Me, Same Us, plus an old favorite for our Tiny Desk quarantine series.

HAIM plays a Tiny Desk (Home) concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

HAIM (Home) Concert

Although sisters Este, Danielle and Alana are self-quarantining in separate residences, their Tiny Desk set from home is a reminder that California is a state of mind.

Alicia Keys plays a Tiny Desk concert (Kisha Ravi/NPR). Kisha Ravi/NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption Kisha Ravi/NPR/NPR

Alicia Keys

The pop superstar premiered a new song, "Gramercy Park," and revisited a classic during her Tiny Desk performance.

Back To Top