Sun Song in Svalbard

Berit Norbakken Solset

The highly sought-after soprano Berit Norbakken Solset will perform two works by Karin Rehnqvist in Longyearbyen, Svalbard (northern Norway).

The concert – on the date for the sun returning after four months of Polar Night – will be held in The Longyearbyen Culture House, February 16th, during the world’s northernmost classical festival – Arctic Chamber Music Festival 2018 – made by the world’s northernmost orchestra.

Performing artists are Norbakken and the Arctic Philharmonic Sinfonietta conducted by Tim Weiss in a more experimental and modern soundscape, presenting two major works of Karin Rehnqvist. 

Sun Song

The sun – the source of life and of destruction. Our nearest star. The hub around which our planet orbits in space. The sun guides our seasons, our nights and days, or climate, our lives, says Karin Rehnqvist.

The composer has used contemporary poems about the sun in contrast to this central one, as well as whispered popular science texts about the dramatic life of the sun itself. 

The sun I saw, as she shimmered on the sea, I was afraid and bewildered …

The sun I saw, the true star of the day, sinking in roaring deep …

In Sun Song Karin Rehnqvist uses a traditional Swedish song technique with no use of vibrato, called ”kulning”. This techinques was originally used to call the cattle home.

When The Raven Black Turns White

Karin Rehnqvist based her work When the Raven Black Turns White on the Witch Trials in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries when people, usually women, were groundlessly sentenced to burning at the stake for sorcery, witchcraft and having dealings with Satan. 

Foto: Yngve Olsen Sæbbe