• Maja S. K. Ratkje
  • Tale of Lead and Light - version for str quartet (2011)

  • Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen (World)
  • 2vn.va.vc
  • 10 min

Programme Note

The backdrop for this commission was to complement music by the great Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven’s scores for string quartet are cornucopias of techniques and musicality. They were certainly not meant for pure entertainment. Ending up with Beethoven’s quartet Op. 59 No. 1 as a reference for this piece, I even used elements from this quartet in my own composition.

Beethoven’s position as a free artist has been of great importance to all following composers. This is of equal inspiration as his music. As a free artist, one has to reflect upon our own time, and not be afraid of allowing reality affect our work. When I was in the middle of writing this piece something horrible happened in my neighbourhood. A bomb exploded in Oslo and a killer shot teenagers on an island summer camp. My nation’s reputation as a peaceful country to live in was drastically and forever changed. It was hard to compose. Papers and online media were soon filled with horrible pictures from the events. The lead-coloured skies being a recurring sight.
The ambiguity in the title reflects both hope and dread. Beethoven’s light shines through, strong and full of life!

The piece was commissioned by the Engegård Quartet in 2011. On the record String Quartets vol IV: Schubert-Ratkje-Britten-Haydn.
A later piece is made for string orchestra: Tale of Lead and Frozen Light (2014).

View Score

Excerpt