Publisher: Edition Wilhelm Hansen
Der Vogel der Nacht (2010)
Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen
Der Vogel der Nacht (The Bird of Night), wrote Gustav Mahler in the original score to his Third Symphony, as a comment to a small oboe phrase in the fourth movement. The words come from a poem by Friedrich Hölderlin. In the completed score, Mahler changed the poetry for an instruction: "Wie ein Naturlaut". The little phrase, repeated like a sad signal, seems to comment the surrounding music. In an essay about Mahler's Third, the Swedish author Carl-Johan Malmberg compares it to Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven: a voice which keeps saying "Nevermore" to the longing human. This was the image I had in mind during the composition process. Distorted echoes of the little "signalphrase" create a kind of refrain between other, brighter parts in the piece - parts of "longing". In these, I have let the bells which accompany boy's and women's choirs in the fifth movement in Mahler's symphony wander into the piece, dressed in new notes. Mahler's post-horn solo and the long, hymnlike ending have also left traces in my composition. And one can find echoes of other birds than "the bird of night": the lonely singer transforms suddenly into a hole bird choir, chirping in dawn.
Der Vogel der Nacht was first performed during the Baltic Sea Festival 2010, with Swedish Radio Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen.