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  • (a) Violin, Cello (also 2 triangles and tam-tam) (2010)

  • (b) Violin Duo, Tape (2014/2024)

  • Duration 10 min.

  • First performance (a) on June 29, 2010, in Fårö, Gotland, Sweden by Karin Hellqvist, violin and Adina Sabin, cello

  • First performance (b) on May 9, 2014, in London by Marie Schreer and John Garner. June 25, 2024 (revised version), at the Romsey Festival, U.K. by Emma Roijackers and Luke Hsu.

  • Recording: Synergy, Turquoise Coconut (2016), Mainly Two: John Garner, Marie Schreer

The Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman was an extremely musical person. He understood that simple musical elements can create a huge impact. For example, Bergman liked the ticking and clinging sounds of the old mechanical clocks. These sounds are present in many of his films, particularly in Cries and Whispers (Viskningar och rop, 1972), where they create an atmosphere of approaching death. In my work, I also wanted to use the clock sound, represented by the triangle. The other sound in Midsommar(so)natten, the tam-tam, can also be heard in many films by Bergman. The only musical element in Scenes from a Marriage (Scener ur ett äktenskap, 1973) is a boat foghorn signal, which appears at the end, just before Marianne wakes up from her nightmare. It was not the first time when Bergman was using this same signal. It can also be heard in Persona (1966) when Elisabet comes to Alma’s room in the middle of the night. I wanted to refer to this moment in my work; it comes two times, the only sounds played with the bow alongside the spoken quotes from the film. I wanted to honour Bergman’s view of using limited elements to create something powerful. Therefore, I decided that the string players predominantly use only col legno and pizzicato techniques to form a unified, simple and delicate sound texture. The two players are like the two characters, Elisabet and Alma, from Persona; they are both seemingly separate individuals but then again linked to each other. Imitations at the beginning of the work already give hints of the fusion of these two instruments or characters, if you like. Later, the two instruments merge, playing a fast-moving passage in almost perfect unison. As the title suggests, Midsommar(so)natten has some resemblance to the traditional sonata form. Or maybe this piece is just a trip to the Nordic midsummer night with its old spells and rituals. TR, 2010

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