for seven instruments*

Duration: ca. 11 minutes

At night our perception is sensitive. Sound is experienced louder, light brighter. You have to be wary. 

As I compose this we are living in difficult times. The coronavirus is spreading and more and more people are getting infected. In many places in the world, the political situation is unstable. Many of us work from home and meet only a few people in real life. We have become unused to mingling with groups and find it hard to sift through our impressions if we go shopping or walk down a street with heavy traffic. We have to take care of both ourselves and one another.

Night Chant is about just that when our senses are wide open. This should colour the performance, it should be played with our hearing in a night mode. Therefore the sonority is warm and dark, the music stays relatively soft. Our ears have to be directed towards the music, to encounter the music.

The alto flute and the bass clarinet open with cantabile motifs in which the dynamics and the ornaments are vital elements. Now and then the sound quakes a bit when a strong vibrato arises out of the dynamics.

Out of this sonorous, dark section a window gradually opens up. And from this, a bright melody peeps out. A kind of hymn. It is mild and simple. This, too, is played softly, in a listening mood. 

Thus light meets darkness, as is so often the case. They are one another’s prerequisites. Erik Blomberg has expressed this beautifully in a poem that I have set to music for choir:

Do Not Fear the Darkness

Oh do not fear the darkness,

It is the home of light.

Had we not dark skies over us,

Ne’er we’d see stars so bright.

Deep in our dark ring of iris,

We have a pupil dark,

For darkness is what bright light

Does trembling long to mark.

Oh do not fear the darkness,

It is the home of light.

Oh do not fear the darkness,

It is the core of light.

15 February 2021

– Karin Rehnqvist

Composed for Norrbotten NEO, commissioned by Norrbottensmusiken

*Alto flute, bass clarinet, vibraphone, piano, violin, viola and cello

Translation poem, Linda Schenck. Translation text, Robert Carroll

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