Waves IIb

1997-98; dur: 12'; 2 fl/picc, cl/bcl,
sopsax/alsax, sopsax/barsax, tpt, hn, 2 tbn,
tu, elgtr, elb, pf/synth, perc; Score at nb.no

Programme note:

Waves of sound, water or light behave similarly. Waves move through a substance with a certain frequency or energy. Waves interfere with each other and new structures are shown. The combination of frequencies gives every sound a unique audible quality.

“Waves IIb” is an expressive piece of music. An analysis of a sound source was the point of departure. The object of interest was a saxophone tone spectrum caused by playing the deepest note on the horn with a sound commonly used in jazz music. This analysis has already resulted in many pieces. (“Sinus Seduction (moods two)” for tenor sax, four speakers and reverb, among others.) “Waves IIb” is based upon two earlier versions, “Waves I” and “Waves II”, both first performed by the Dutch ensemble ‘de Ereprijs’ in 1997 and 1998.

“Waves IIb” had its first performance with Oslo Sinfonietta during the Oslo Chamber Music Festival in 1998. The 29 tone chords are transposed on every step in the 29 tone scale to make a harmonic palette for the piece. The progression through the chords happen in up to three layers at the same time. Symbolically, the piece climbs out of its frames at the end, and the instruments are not able to fulfil the tasks the calculations require. The “human” aspect is also shown through the choice of estimating the pitches to the closest quarter tone.

With this piece, the composer won the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris 1999 for composers less than 30 years, which means that the piece will be broadcast in more than 30 countries during 1999/2000. She also received the Norwegian Edvard price (work of the year) for this piece.

Sonoloco record reviews: “A composer with the mighty name Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje concludes this surprisingly interesting and listenable CD from Albedo. The title is “Waves IIb”, whatever that might mean… It sounds aleatoric at first, in a micro interval glissandi, backed-up by darker forces, brown notes – and it starts banging loudly – until the glissandi continues and a many-facetted structure builds up, moving like Luciano Berio’s “Eindrücke”, but slower, more carefully – ominous, mighty, yet slender… and synthesizer sounds accommodate themselves in a Stockhausen self-evidence of intent. This can be scary, let me tell you. Identify with this, and you’re going to have dreams at night… I see walls, forests, dark valleys, moving figures across hazy moors at dusk – and somewhere someone waits by a campfire or by a TV set – and the rest is violence! Tingling of percussion sound like reeds by the lake in the wind, where the bitterns hide, making themselves thin and narrow; This is probably the most intriguing and interesting, inventive piece of the CD. Let’s hear much more from Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje!”

TONO-nytt, nr 2, 1999: Nominasjoner til Edvard-prisen: “Om “Waves IIb” sier juryen: Også dette verket er kjennetegnet av en uvanlig dyktig klangbehandling og en tett dramatisk nerve. Komponisten skaper et klangrom, og makter å holde lytterens forventning fanget verket gjennom. Verket vitner, med sitt åpne og ryddige klangbilde og gode oversikt over midlene, om stor kunnskap og stort overskudd. Her fins spennende kontraster, skiftende fargebruk, runde mot ruere klangtyper. Verket er godt disponert i tid, og helhetlig i form og proporsjon. Et dyktig og spennende verk av en oppsiktsvekkende ung priskandidat.”

Morgenbladet 01.12.00: “(…)Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkjes “Waves IIb” kommer inn fra en annen kant. Formen er enkel og fortellende, materialet velklingende og virkningsfullt.(…) Kampen står mellom lys og mørke, metaforisk kanskje, slik den ofte har gjort i musikken etter Arne Nordheim, og ender her i kontrasten mellom det helt mørke og det helt lyse. Stykket er inviterende og kommuniserende, en studie i norsk dramaturgisk form.(…)” Erling Eliseus Guldbrandsen.

NRK P2 18.01.01: “Denne komposisjonen har en dimensjon av uendelighet, liksom hevet over alle ‘-ismer’.” Eyvind Solås.

First recorded and released on the album Faces (2000) with Oslo Sinfonietta and young Norwegian composers. On the edition International Rostrum of Composers 1955-1999. Later released on the album River Mouth Echoes (2008).

Programme note in Norwegian:

“Waves IIb” er basert på “Waves II” som ble skrevet på bestilling fra de ensemblet ‘de erprijs’ i Apeldoorn i forbindelse med International Young Composers’ Meeting 1997 der Ratkje vant førstepris. Jeg ville lage et stykke som tok utgangspunkt i en spektralanalyse av den dypeste tonen på en tenorsaksofon spilt med “jazz”-munnstilling. Dette hadde jeg allerede jobbet med i studio, noe som har resultert i flere verk, bl.a. “Sinus Seduction (moods two)” for tenorsax, fire høyttalere og klang. I “Waves”-stykkene blir saksofonens overtoner instrumentert ut for 14 musikere. Overtonene blir bearbeidet i en musikalsk prossess som ikke har noe med saksofonens fysiologiske egenskaper å gjøre.

“Om Waves IIb” kan jeg si at stykket grovt sett er delt inn i 3 deler som har hver sin tydelige karakter. Første del er skiftende og sprikende. Andre del innledes med et langsomt parti som kulimnerer i et mylder av slagverk og blåsere. Ut ifra dette springer det ut en lang koda som lar oss dvele lengre ved den spektrale (overtonebaserte) harmonikken før den oppløses i registrenes ytterpunkter.

Komponisten mottok Edvardprisen og EBUs internasjonale Rostrumpris i 1999 for “Waves IIb”.

This entry was posted in Large ensembles and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>