Nattens djupa violoncell


instruments alto solo and chamber ensemble

text by Karin Boye

year of production 2008

dedication Anna Larsson, Sonanza and Jan Risberg

commissioner Sonanza

duration 7‘   

first performance

December 2nd 2008

Nybrokajen 11, Stockholm

Anna Larsson, alto


Jan Risberg, conductor


recorded on CD ”Unheard of - Again” Sonanza  Phono Suecia PSCD 180

with Anna Larsson, Sonanza and Jan Risberg

listen to excerpt

work comments

Nattens djupa violoncell (The Nights Deep Violoncello) was commissioned to Anna Larsson, Sonanza and Jan Risberg, to whom it is also dedicated.

The title is from a poem by Swedish poetress Karin Boye (1900-41).

At the first reading you were struck by its direct message of “how you should live and how you live”. The ideas fell into place and wanted to visualize a “virtual music drama” around the poem. In earlier works as Sacrificio, Confrontation, Ballo,  the relation between pitch and noise is being investigated in different ways. In this case as such it has to do with two different lines: vertical (chord) and horizontal (melody). The rhythm of the text has formed the music and vice versa, also brought out the different moods that is inside the given text and to deviate from it for creating contrasts. The cello, plays an important role both as a timbre and resembling the human voice. It comments, colouring, confronts together with the alto voice and the ensemble in different textures during the course of the piece.

Benjamin Staern

Reviews on Nattens djupa violoncell

Nybrokajen 11, Stockholm

December 2 2008

Anna Larsson


Jan Risberg

[…] “exuberant richness of sounds...was stressed in Benjamin Staerns dramatic composition of the poem The Night’s Deep Violoncello by Karin Boye . Here again an excellent performance from Anna Larsson.” […]

Lars Hedblad, Svenska Dagbladet, 4 december 2008

[…] “ it gave in particular…an extra dimension.” […]

Thomas Anderberg, Dagens Nyheter, 4 december 2008

Reviews on ”Unheard of - Again” Sonanza  Phono Suecia PSCD 180

[…] " The temperature rises – and reaches its peak in Benjamin Staern’s minimalist, playful

The Night’s Deep Violoncello, with the contralto voice like a jewel in the middle. ” […]

Svenska Dagbladet January 21 2009. / Sofia Nyblom

[…] "evocative setting...accessible, strongly individuated and warmly recommended.” […]

Peter Grahame Woolf, Musical Pointers, December 28 2008

[…] ”One of the finest works here is The Deep Violoncello of the Night, a very fine set-

ting for alto and ensemble of a similarly titled poem by Karin Boye… In this short

dramatic scena, the composer successfully and resourcefully draws considerable strength from a small mixed ensemble.” […]

Music-Web International March 2009 / Hubert Culot


Anna Larsson rehearses Nattens djupa violoncell with Sonanza and
Jan Risberg at Nybrokajen 11, Stockholm.
Photo Djuro Zivkovic