• Britta Byström
  • Farewell Variations (2005)

  • Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen (World)
  • 1202/2000/perc/str
  • 15 min

Programme Note

FAREWELL VARIATIONS sees the careful approach towards Haydn by Britta Byström. Although you have the title reference to the ”Farewell” Symphony, Haydn’s Symphony No. 45, Byström’s approximations are being made in a subtle way similar to her free interpretation of literary works.

You will not find any direct thematic connections between Byström and Haydn. Byström’s Haydn inspiration comes in form of the various titles which have been given to a lot of Haydn symphonies in the post-Haydn era. Byström wanted to go in sort of an opposite direction: To compose music based on ”Haydnish” symphonic titles. A kind of symphonic Haydn catalogue appears in the movements. Farewell Variations consist of fourteen variations of Byström’s own thematics. The work begins in sighing and broken phrases – like the shadow of a dance. The titles of the variations lead to the description of daily events starting with morning. A day of Haydn! The last variation, farewell, ends with the musicians playing on by on.

As such there is no story but the titles are the main focus here. Byström says that she musically ”tried to capture some of Haydn’s ease and insights”.

Tony Lundman