• Britta Byström
  • Diagonal Musik (2017)

  • Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen (World)
  • hn.vn.pf
  • 20 min

Programme Note

The composition is inspired by the geometric paintings by the Swedish modernist painter Olle Bærtling (1911-1981). His pictures consist of triangle forms in extremely bright, artificial colours, where the lines of the triangles gradually get closer to each other, but where the point of intersection is placed outside the frame, so to speak. Bæertling called this concept ”open form”; he wished to create a sense of that the picture was not limited by the frame, but continued infinitely, out in space…

This ”open form” concept I have wished to transfer into music. In 12 short movements, I have tried to create a sort of musical ”unfinished” geometry: different lines that gradually come closer to each other, but which do not meet – until after the movement has ended! The preparation of the piano (please see the instruction for the preparation in the score) was made in order to achieve a kind of ”diagonals of sound”, making it possible for the piano to resemble the other two instruments.

”Art at its most sublime is a hymn of praise to creation, an invisible but ever-present force”, Olle Bærtling said. ”A sense of the infinite, a flight to an invisible destination.” I find that a very beautiful motto for a piece of music.

Diagonal musik was written for and dedicated to the splendid musicians Chris Parkes, Malin Broman and Simon Crawford-Phillips, who made the first performance of the piece in October 2017.