HYLESTAD (2017) - for two narrators, Bb trumpet, and string quartet

Premiere: Musikkbaren - Music for String Quartet, Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo, Norway, March 7th, 2018

 

Duration:  ca. 8 min

 

Program Note:

 

Hylestad is a town in southern Norway known for its historical wooden stave church which was torn down in the 17th century. The church had portal carvings, broken into narrative panels, featuring the story of Sigurd Fåvnesbane, a legendary figure from Norse mythology, slaying a dragon. Tales from Sigurd can be found in the Prose Edda and the Völsunga saga. These church panels are are a testament to a time of mixed polytheistic and Christian belief in 12th Century Norway. Hylestad explores  religious parallels through two narrated stories of dragon-slayers—St. George and Sigurd—two parallel streams that alternate, overlap, and separate. These stories are accompanied by music which takes material from a 19th-century Christian Hymn for St. George by Henry Gauntlett and a 13th-century Scandinavian folk tune Drømde mig en drøm i nat (I dreamt a dream last night)—the oldest existing Nordic folk tune notated in runes. The improvised trumpet glues the two worlds, freely coloring the lines of the stories and weaving them together like the complex patterns in the church carving. The texts are extracted from Snorri Sturluson's "Prose Edda" and Jacobus de Voragine's "Golden Legend" and edited by the composer.