Commissioned by Norrbottensmusiken for Norrbotten NEO and Alexandra Büchel

  • S; fl(pic).cl(Ebcl)
  • S
  • 25 min

Programme Note

Apricot trees exist, apricot trees exist

So reads the unforgettable beginning to Inger Christensen's collection of poems Alphabet (1981). It is built around two principles: the alphabet – the poems revolve around words of A, B, C, etc. – and the Fibonacci number sequence (where each number is the sum of the previous two numbers). The number of rows in the poems develop according to the number sequence, which makes Alfabet a very comprehensive work of poetry!

I have set the first seven poems to music, i.e. letters A-G. Each poem has its own clause. The length of the movements is also controlled by the Fibonacci series: A is only 34 seconds, while G is just over 10 minutes... In addition, each movement is linked to the pitch of the same name, so that A, Bb, C etc. become fundamental notes.

What inspired me the most, however, is the playfulness and wealth of invention that Christensen exhibits in spite of – or perhaps because of? - the strict rules she has set for her poetry. She points to the details of the overwhelming beauty of the world as in a spell against all that threatens it: environmental pollution, forest devastation, the atomic bomb.

The composition Alfabet was written for Norrbotten NEO and the soloist Alexandra Büchel. Her voice is perfect for the "enchanting light" which for me is the strongest impression from Christensen's world, and which I have tried to capture in the music.

Britta Byström


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