konnakol variations

 instruments solo percussion and winds:

solo perc. 2+ 2 6+ 2+, 2 sax, 2 cor, 4 trpt, 3 trbn, tuba, 

timp/perc. 0 db.

orchestra version: 2222 4231 timp. perc. perc. solo – str. 

year of production 2019

dedication Lauri Metsvahi, Cathrine Winnes and Blåsarsymfonikerna

commissioner Blåsarsymfonikerna (Swedish Wind Ensemble)

duration 11’

first performance

March 13 2019
Musikaliska, Stockholm
Svensk Musikvår 2019
Lauri Metsvahi, solo percussion
Cathrine Winnes, conductor


work comments
Folk music has fascinated many composers through differents times that is usually a clear entrance to music that generates imaginative ideas of an inner impulse or as capturing a moment as a ”snapshot” on the road. This was the case when it involved from a viral Facebook-post that circulated with an Indian percussionist called B.C. Manjunath who performed the so-called konnakol rhythms. Konnakol is the art of verbalizing rhythms vocally coming from southern India and it is a spoken component of solar kattu, which refers to a combination of syllables while counting speech (the beat type) by hand. In my interpretation, I have interpreted the rhythms straight off in the solo voice with having turned and turned on the gestures, dynamics and energy that constantly vary in time and movement, ie sonic variations. In a suggestive first part with playing congas and bongos with their hands where a part of the orchestra claps along with the seven-beat music along with a bassoon in the bass. The orchestra comments on what has been presented.

In the second part, which is meditative and calm, a transformation has taken place, from drums to metal and wooden instruments in the percussion with clear and reclining sounds in the wind that gives a ”Northern light” -like shimmer. This leads to a cadence and a short interplay that is quite transverse and angry leading up to the third part where there is focus on all the drums on stage and in addition a very aggressive expression of the orchestra. Then comes a cadence with an orchestra where the soloist continues his harangues while the wind comments on the event like a news report. The orchestral percussion hangs on and duels. It leads to a fusion of all elements presented and to a mysterious fate-filled coda with a simple xylophone solo.
Benjamin Staern

other performances

March 14 2019
Norrlandsoperans konsertsal
Lauri Metsvahi
Cathrine Winnes

March 23 2019
Eesti Kontsert, Tallinn, Estonia ESTONIAN PREMIERE!
Lauri Metsvahi
Cathrine Winnes