Year of composition: 2022
Duration: ca 15 min
Co-commissioners: O/Modernt and Musik i Dalarna
World premiere: June 2023 (Festival O/Modernt)
When asked to write a piece that featured soloists and somehow referenced Brahms, some characteristics of his music first came to mind. His love of Bach and counterpoint, his use of melodic elision (or overlapping of phrases), syncopation and hemiola, displacement of whole phrases or melodic lines, Hungarian Gypsy music and folk song, harmonic expansion and ambiguous tonality, harmony used as colour, bass ostinato, extensive codas, occasional fugal techniques, and continuous motific development. Many of these characteristics are to be found throughout this piece, but in a more contemporary context. For example, the opening of the first movement combines two of Messiaen's modes (to which Brahms probably would have been fascinated ) to create harmonic tension and ambiguity. Later, a bass ostinato lays the foundation for the soloists motifs, and toward the end we hear echoes of Hungarian-like folk song and fugue. The second movement is one melodic strand in continual development, using overlapping phrases passed around the strings. The third is a playful enquiry of how Brahms may have approached the minimalist style. The extensive coda, with Hungarian/gypsy modes, is unashamedly gypsy jazz, first heard through Django Reinhardt, a Romani-French jazz guitarist (1910-53). The syncopated, vigorous rhythms create a rambunctious, joyful energy. Finally, it is noted that Brahms mostly wrote 'absolute music', or music without a subject. It is music for its own sake, for its art and its enjoyment. And so it is with this piece. The only difference being that characteristics of Brahms's were in the forefront while writing. It is fitting therefore, that the title, Lineage, reflects this .