for soprano and alto saxophone


1. Rädda mig ur dyn (Rescue me from the Mire)

2. Jag lyfter mina händer (I Raise my Hands)


Rescue me from the Mire is a short, highly-charged piece having to do with calling:

Outward calling – powerful, to attract attention and be heard over distances.

Inward calling – compact, almost silent, like a prayer.


The female vocalist uses a singing technique referred to in Swedish as “kulning” and used in the past to call the cows home in the mountain pastures and to communicate over long distances. This type of calling in conjunction with the playing of the alto saxophone gives rise to a very special, very particular sound (harmony).


I composed Rescue me from the Mire for the inauguration of the Stockholm 1994 World Music Days. It was performed at the Vasa Museum, with the musicians standing on the deck of the Vasa, a seventeenth century man-of-war that sank in the Stockholm harbor on its maiden voyage and that has now been salvaged and reconstructed. When I wrote the piece, I had this disaster in mind, but coincidentally the cruise ship M/S Estonia sank between Estonia and Sweden just a few days before the premiere, and many passengers lost their lives. This tragedy gave the performance a terrible and different sense of topicality.


I raise my hands is both a companion piece to Rescue me and a contrasting one. From the point of view of volume, it is particularly soft, and the listener literally has to turn an ear toward the musicians to hear the music at all.


Both pieces are rooted in traditional Nordic folk chorales, from which they attenuate the registers: high and low, loud and soft are both taken to their extremes and tested there.

I raise my hands ends in a line straight up and out into nowhere (eternity)*.

*free choice
Karin Rehnqvist, November 2, 2000



RÄDDA MIG UR DYN (Rescue me from the Mire) (1994) 
Text: The Book of Psalms 69:15.


JAG LYFTER MINA HÄNDER (I raise my hands) (1998)

Text from the Swedish Hymnal

I raise my hands

toward God’s will and house

Unto them he sends his help

and shines his light –