Ajar

Toujours vers toi 5.1

’Ajar' is a piece for viola d’amore, written for the Italian violinist Marco Fusi in 2015.

The title ”Ajar" refers to my inspiration, which is a calm place surrounded by wild environment, which you enter or exit with hesitation. This calm place gives the musician space to explore and be relaxed. In my vision a person comes from a dark forest and ends up in a glade where the light reaches the ground. The person can breath more freely and becomes instantly brave. The contrast is remarkable. When he glances back at the forest and realises that he has to go back at some point, he gets frightened and his mind starts to wander. The opening with its light which first seemed like a peaceful spot, ended up being a trap. The dark forest wasn’t frightening while he was in it; but now, when he is looking out from the light opening into the mass of high dark trees, the darkness seems impervious. He starts to gather up the courage to leave.


Another inspiration I used in the piece is folk music from Sweden & India. In traditional folk music they play in a different way on their instruments compared to musicians in classical music. I chose some elements from that style & inserted them into my music, e.g.: walking around while playing, taking down the instrument & play on it in another way, making eye contact with the audience & using the voice to make sounds and speak. The musician can choose if he/she wants to speak or just think of the text written in the score. 


I am using a part of a poem by the Italian poet Francesco Petrarca. The reason for that is that the tuning of the strings used in the piece is the tone material from a piece called ”Cantai, ora piango” written for the Swedish ensemble Mimitabu. That piece was inspired by the same poem and now they are both connected through that. But they are not similar in any other way. The poem is written in the score both for inspiration for the musician but can also be read for the audience while playing. Only the Italian text should be spoken so if the musician doesn't feel comfortable in speaking that language, the text is for inspiration only. 

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Material to download:

Score       Recording (buy online)

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CANTAI; OR PIANGO

Cantai, or piango, et non men di dolcezza                                                                 

del pianger prendo che del canto presi,

ch'a la cagion, non a l'effetto, intesi

son i miei sensi vaghi pur d'altezza.

 

Indi et mansüetudine et durezza

et atti feri, et humili et cortesi,

porto egualmente, né me gravan pesi,

 

mia fortuna,

ch'i' non penso esser mai se non felice.

 

Viva o mora o languisca, un piú gentile

stato del mio non è sotto la luna,

sí dolce è del mio amaro la radice.



Poem by Francesco Petrarca



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I SANG; AND NOW I WEEP

I sang, and now I weep, and I take no less

delight in weeping than I took in singing,

for the cause and not the effect, is in

my senses, longing for my noble one.


So I bear mildness and severity,

cruel or humble or courteous actions,

equally, no weight burdens me,


let my fortune treat me as always, 

and I will never think myself unhappy.



Alive, or dead, or languishing, there’s no

state better than mine beneath the moon,

so sweet is the root of my bitterness.



Translation (partly) by Anthony S. Kline


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JAG SJÖNG; NU GRÅTER JAG


Jag sjöng; nu gråter jag, och ej är fröjden

av tårar mindre än den sången gav:

jag ser blott fröet, märker inte av

dess frukt – har varje sinne vänt mot höjden.

 

Med samma jämnmod står jag därför ut

med hårdhet, ynnest, grymhet, milda ord

och ingen tyngd kan pressa mig mot jord;

 

min lycka varar

och skall ej förvittra.

 

Och jag må längta, leva, dö – ett mera

avundsvärt tillstånd finns ej under månen

än mitt: så ljuv är roten till det bittra!



Translation by Ingvar Björkeson