Tranströmersånger

 

instruments alto solo and chamber ensemble;
alto, clarinet, bass clarinet, mandolin, guitar, violin, viola and violoncello

texts by Tomas Tranströmer from the collection Sorgegondolen (”The Sad Gondola”)

movements
1. April och Tystnad
2. Tre Strofer –
3. Intermezzo I (instrumental) –
4. Tystnaden –
5. Intermezzo II (instrumental)
6. Landskap med solar

year of production 2009 - 2010


dedication Carina Vinke, Christian Karlsen and New European Ensemble

commissioned by New European Ensemble

duration 20‘ (ensemble) 12‘ (piano)  


first performance
April 18 2009
Arnold Schönberg Zaal,

Koninklijk Conservatorium,
Den Haag, Netherlands
(first version: only mov 1, 2 and 6)

Carina Vinke, alto

New European Ensemble

Christian Karlsen, conductor

version for alto voice and piano
October 11 2009

Pulchri Studio
Den Haag, Netherlands
Carina Vinke, alto
Stefan Petrovic, piano


publisher  





released on CD "Silent Echoes" performed by Carina Vinke and Hanna Shybayeva.

for purchasing please contact Carina Vinke at carinavinke@gmail.com.

Price: 20 Euros/165 SEK Svenska kronor




























































work comments


Tranströmersånger (”Tranströmer Settings”) (2009-10) was commissioned by and dedicated to Carina Vinke, New European Ensemble and Christian Karlsen. It was originally composed for voice and ensemble (consisting of clarinet, bass clarinet, mandolin, guitar, violin, viola and violoncello) and later set for voice and piano with the instrumental intermezzi left out.

The starting point for this work was poetry from Tomas Tranströmer’s Sorgegondolen “The Sorrow Gondola” which describes an author’s inability to write. The title is derived from a piano piece by Franz Liszt called La lugubre gondola, that was composed around the time of Richard Wagner’s passing and funeral procession in the canals of Venice.


The harmonic backbone is based on the same pitch material as one of my previous works for solo guitar, Arpalinea. Using the same instrumentation as in Arnold Schönberg’s Serenade op. 24, the sound world is italian and inspired by paganini’s concertante-works, which included violin and viola along with mandolin and guitar. Musically i wanted to bring out the lyric and dramatic moods in these poems where you can picture the poetic content as a ”music drama without a stage”.


Tranströmersånger has been widely performed on tour with the New European Ensemble in the autumn of 2010 in Sweden, and in Holland at Pulchri Studio in The Hague and at White Crow Music Festival in Leiden.



Reviews on Tranströmersånger:

Foajén, Malmö Opera

May 15 2010 SWEDISH PREMIERE (piano version)
Emma Lyrén

Max Lörstad

[…] "Benjamin Staern is a composer from Malmö with every reason to keep an eye on. He has apparently been busy and have had works appearing on several international festivals, but I must admit that I knew nothing about his activities as a composer until I heard his "Contrasts in Motion" at the Malmo Opera Percussion Concert "Wildfire" earlier this year. The work was interesting, captivating, indeed purely entertaining and I was curious to hear more of his music. At Saturday's chamber concert at the upper foyer of the Opera singer Emma Lyrén and pianist Max Lörstad performed three of Benjamin Staern compositions to poetical settings of Tomas Tranströmer. It was intelligent, well-written musical in the spirit of older romance art, with interesting contrasts, clear melodic vocal part and intricate passages for the piano. You get a clear sense that Staern actually writes for its listeners to tell you something and he expresses himself very well. It will be very interesting to see what he achieves in the future. For the good impression of these songs also contributed greatly Emma Lyréns well-modulated yet dramatic mezzo and Max Lörstads elegant touch with the piano part." […]

Lars-Erik Larsson, Skånska Dagbladet May 17 2010.


Västerås Konserthus

October 9 2010 WORLD PREMIERE of extended version
Carina Vinke
New European Ensemble

Christian Karlsen

[…] ”Tranströmers clear drawn images receives a further dimension with aid of strings, winds and Carina Vinkes voice.” […]

Dan Linder Vestmanlands
tidningen October 10th 2010


Capitol, Stockholm

October 9 (ensemble version) STOCKHOLM PREMIERE
Samtida Musik
Carina Vinke, alto

New European Ensemble

Christian Karlsen, conductor


[…] ”[was] the highlight of the evening. Staerns lyrical and virtuosic driven modernism is recognizable in these short settings there Vinkes voice had space to glare out in a dramatic top form. It was also received in the ensemble...They are playing impeccably great! I’m looking forward to hear more.” […]


Andreas Engström, Nutida Musik 4/2010-2011


November 27

Palladium, Malmö


Carina Vinke, alto

New European Ensemble

Christian Karlsen, conductor


[…] ”Tranströmersånger” är en tonsättning av fyra dikter från ”Sorgegondolen”. Våren är öde och mulen och vad diktjaget vill säga ligger utom räckhåll, som bordssilver på havets botten. Men silvret överlever, till skillnad från krigets järn som rostar i marken, och i den fjärde dikten glider solen fram med sin röda blåst.

På en ny, mild ton sjöng alten Carina Vinke om denna sol som ska stå ”i den halvdöda grå skogen där vi skall arbeta och leva”. Vilken lättnad efter den tidigare ångesten. Men på sista ordet, ”leva”, sjönk rösten tillbaka mot mörkret. Solen lyser på arbetet, men livet är som det är, tycktes Staern vilja säga.

Som helhet var Staerns musik mycket expressiv...Den pekade på den latenta kraften i Tranströmers på ytan så enkla språk och undvek samtidigt en lurande fara: att musiken blir en Tranströmerkarikatyr.” […]

Tobias Lund, Sydsvenskan, October 29th 2013



January 25th 2018

Nana Bugge Rasmussen, alto

Manuel Esperilla, piano

[…] ”"Blandt de mange værker trådte også tre melankolske sange til digte af Tomas Tranströmer frem. Skrevet af den unge svenske komponist Benjamin Staern. Her vekslede musikken mellem dunkle naturskildringer og helt jordnære betragtninger i en musik, der balancerede på en ironisk knivsæg med mezzosopranen Nana Bugge Rasmussen - mezzosoprano som dramatisk fortolker med et glimt i øjet." […]


”Among the many works three melancholic songs emerged to settings by Tomas Tranströmer. Composed by the young Swedish composer Benjamin Staern. The music changed between dark descriptions of nature and entirely down to earth reflections in a music that balance on an ironic edge of a knife with the mezzosoprano Nana Bugge Rasmussen as a dramatic interpreter with a twinkle in the eye.”


Politiken January 29th 2018.


2010

May 15 SWEDISH PREMIERE (piano version)
Foajén, Malmö Opera

Emma Lyrén

Max Lörstad


October 9 (ensemble version) WORLD PREMIERE of extended version

Västerås, Konserthuset

Västmanlandsmusiken


October 9 (ensemble version) STOCKHOLM PREMIERE

Capitol, Stockholm

Samtida Musik

October 12 (ensemble version)

Röhsska muséet, Gothenburg

October 13 (ensemble version)

Caroli Kyrka, Malmö
Connect Festival 2010
Carina Vinke, alto

New European Ensemble

Christian Karlsen, conductor

November 13 (piano version) DUTCH PREMIERE of the complete version

Aalmarkthall, Leiden, Netherlands
White Crow Music Festival 2010
Carina Vinke, alto

Stefan Petrovic, piano


November 28 (piano version) FRENCH PREMIERE

Domaine de la Grange, La Prévôté, Savigny-Le-Temple, France

Gitta-Maria Sjöberg, alto

Philippe Cassard, piano

2012

October 12th (piano version)

Karl Johan-kyrkan, Göteborg

Birgitta Flyborg, alto

Karl-Åke Felt , piano


2013

April 11 (ensemble version) DUTCH PREMIERE
Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ, Amsterdam, Netherlands
April 12

Korzo Theater, Den Haag, Netherlands
April 13
Musis Sacrum, Arnhem, Netherlands

Carina Vinke, alto

New European Ensemble

Christian Karlsen, conductor


November 27

Palladium, Malmö

Carina Vinke, alto

New European Ensemble

Christian Karlsen, conductor

2018

January 25 (piano version) DANISH PREMIERE!
Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark
Nana Bugge Rasmussen, alto
Manuel Esperilla, piano

 

Carina Vinke, Tomas Tranströmer, the composer and Christian Karlsen after the first performance of the new extended version in Västerås October 9th 2010.