• Erik Bergman
  • Borealis (1983)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Washington Music Ensemble

  • 2pf
  • Percussion
  • 19 min

Programme Note

I decided that I wanted to split the sound of the pianos into two separate and complementary worlds, each characterized by different playing techniques and touch and by different approaches to the deployment of overtones and the pedal. The percussion is similarly grouped into instruments with membrane, metal and wood playing-surfaces and into clapper and rattle instruments. The use of different sound production techniques and different points of attack further enriches the range of colour and relates to the development of the music. The three instrumentalists appear both as soloists and in various combinations with each other. The second piano, in particular, played directly on the strings, often functions as a percussion instrument. Although the rhythms of the work are strictly notated, controlled improvisation is incorporated as an organic part of the whole. The chordal structures are sometimes complex and fully written-out, sometimes either notated or freely cluster-like. At climactic moments, such as the conclusion of the first and third movements, the work oversteps the bounds of notation and both pianists give themselves up to free improvisation, though here too pitches and other indications are given. Throughout, various motifs and rhythmic figures are developed and bind the form together.

© Erik Bergman, 1983