LJUS AV LJUS (LIGHT OF LIGHT)

For children’s choir and orchestra
Dedicated to the memory of Anna Lindh

 

Children’s voices and symphony orchestra – what en exciting combination! It should give oportunity to a wonderfully bright and intense timbre

This was my first thought. But also characterwise I wanted to do something bright and filled with hope, a Song of Praise. A praise to the wonderfulness in our existence, to life, to nature.

 

The child’s voice has lots of spesific qualities in expression and sound that is incomparable with anything. There is an inspiration of traditional folkmusic; in the melodic and ornamental phrases and even in the voice technique. The characteristics are a clear use of chest voice and a sort of shouting voice called “kulning”.

 

The texts are collected from the Swedish book of Psalms and the Bible.

Throughout the times, some of our greatest poets have created some of the lyrics for the psalms with an unfailing perception of the language’s potential of melody, a fine sense of simplicity and beauty.

 

The piece is in three parts; shimmery bright– compelling dark – intensely bright

Karin Rehnqvist, August 21, 2003

 

While working with “Ljus av Ljus”, Swedens minister of Foreign Affairs Anna Lindh was killed in September 2003. She worked her whole life with an enthusiastic energy for human rights and democracy. Her voice was clear and strong, and her messge travelled great distances. She was, with all her courage and kindness herself a shining light in our world.

I dedicate this piece to her.

English translation of the text for programme book, line by line

1.

Kindly over the earth shines,

a ray of celestial hope

Slowly, bounded by time,

eternity’s sun goes up.

Just so slowly that my eye

Is able to bear the beams

and comprehend the hidden word of the Lord.

(J-O Wallin)

 

In the east the sun rises,

and spreads gold in the sky.

She rises over the mountaintop,

shining on city and town.

 

She rises from the lovely coast,

where Paradise once lay.

She gives life and energy to the elderly,

and brings pleasure to the children.

( BS Ingeman)

 

She’s shining, she’s shining bright

 

2.

But like a bird swings up

and rises to the heights of heaven

He praises his God …

And his soul rises in heartfelt jubilation

towards the heavens on high.

.. (from medieval tradition)

 

3.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,

and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

(Psalm 51:12)

 

Listen, does not the wisdom call out?

Does not understanding rasie her voice?

“To you, O men, I call out;

I raise my voice to all mankind.

You who are simple, gain prudence;

You who are foolish, gain understanding”.

(Proverbs 8: 1,4,5)

 

English translation of 1 and 2, by Linda Schenck

 

Light of Light – singable English version

 

1.

Gently o’er the earth the sky

Sends its rays of light to cry

Shining close to God on high

Sun eternal our reply

Slowly, kindly seeking wisdom

My heart opens to the Lord

Taking in his hidden word.

 

The sun ascends all robed in light

To paint the heavens gold.

She climbs the cliffs and shines so bright

Reflects on young and old.

 

She rises from the distant west

Where Paradise once lay

She shines upon the children best

Her splendid light each day.

 

She’s glorious,

She’s glorious now…

 

2.

So just as a bird is resplendent

And flies to the heavenly hall

While singing God’s praise …

Thus rises the soul

With joy let it fly

to heaven on high.

 

3.

Give me now my God

A pure, clean heart

And render a steadfast spirit.

 

Hear! Wisdom is calling

Hear, insight is raising its voice.

I’m calling and calling to you,

Mankind, now

I’m calling to you:

Gain prudence all ye ignorant

And you, ye foolish

Acquire a clean heart.
(Translation Linda Schenck, movt 3 based on Proverbs and Psalms)

 

Ljus av ljus was composed for Adolf Fredrik’s Girls Choir and Orchestre National de France, commissioned by Radio France, the Swedish Radio and Swedish Concert Institute. It was premiered at the Présences Festival in Paris 31:st of Januar 2004.