Passing Images

2003; dur: 13′; Accordion solo;
Score at (solo version only)

The undertitle for this composition is “waltz”, it is written as a solo piece for accordion player Frode Haltli, a commission from the festival Klangspuren Schwaz in Austria in 2003. The piece is written freely from memory of Frode Haltli’s own re-arrangement of a Norwegian folk tune, as a remote echo of something that has already been treated and changed. Then again, the piece is arranged, but not changed, by Frode Haltli for an ensemble consisting of accordion, viola, voice and trumpet (as found on the CD with the same title, out on ECM in 2007), or for the trio POING pluss a voice artist.

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Los Angeles Times: “The most unusual number – “Passing Images” Ratkje’s strikingly contemporary, John Cage-inspired reinvention of “Lyrisk Vals” – employed techniques of 1960s avant-garde happenings while remaining in touch with the sweetness of the original material.”

Avant-Progressive: “Passing Images was written as a solo for accordionist Frode Haltli freely from Maja’s memory of his re-arrangement of a Norwegian folk tune, “as a remote echo of something that has already been treated and changed”. Here it is yet re-arranged for the entire trio plus the composer’s voice. Once again we have the sound of air in the bellows or through the brass tube of the sax, devoid of pitch, barely audible bass harmonics, long silences, dramatic interjections from the accordion, then Maja entering with a babble of sound poetry followed by long pure tones alternating with small mouth sounds made audible by amplification; a totally gripping piece of music. It put me in mind of some of the artists pursuing so called lowercase improvisation, using their instruments in ways which strip them of all their traditional expressive qualities. That this was a scored work rather than improvisation may or may not account for its greater emotional power.”

Boomkat: “Ratkje’s aforementioned ‘Passing Images’ finds Haltli expanding the conventional vocabulary of the accordion to incorporate wildly difficult, disjointed passages”

Avisa Nordland: “Festivalkomponist Ratkjes «Passing Images (Waltz)» er et verk med mye stillhet. Haltli oppfordret publikum til å la tankene vandre. Men er det den effekten musikken har? Vi hører noen korte basstoner adskilt av lange perioder av stillhet. Dette gjør kanskje at man tvert i mot blir svært oppmerksom på hva som skjer. I tillegg blir lyder fra salen framtredende: et program slippes i gulvet, én hoster osv. Stykket er langsomt og stillestående, og etterhvert høres en folketone diffust i det lyseste registeret, slik at den nesten ikke kan skjelnes.”


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