For solo trumpet
A joint commission between Håkan Hardenberger and Danmarks Radio
Dedicated to Håkan Hardenberger
Everybody knows - or has at least heard of - the time honoured military bugle calls: Reveille - Retraite, the awakening at sunrise - the turning in at sunset. In a way it’s the UR-concept of the nature of the trumpet, an instrument capable of glorious panache as well as sublime, inward-looking finesse.
My piece is, as indicated in the title, a two-fold composition in the form of two contrasting tone-poems, each mirroring a fragment of original text, what one could call spiritual appetizers. At the end of chapter 8 of his high-spirited Memoirs Hector Berlioz laments the murder of a man he admired, Prince Lichnowsky, who was stabbed to death in Frankfurt in September 1848 by German peasants: “Oh, I must get out, walk, run, shout under the open sky!” Now, there’s a juicy bit of high-strung romantic Sturm-und-Drang for you - and the perfect motto for any awakening...
Then night fall, Retraite, in which I’ve drawn upon the early, melancholy poem Alone by Edgar Allan Poe and taken out one single line as ‘subtitle’ for this very hushed and withdrawn movement:
“And all I lov’d, I lov’d alone.”
I guess it won't hurt to quote the poem in its entirety:
“From childhood's hour I have not been
As others were - I have not seen
As others saw - I could not bring
My passions from a common spring.
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow; I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone;
And all I lov’d, I lov’d alone.
THEN - in my childhood - in the dawn
Of a most stormy life - was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still:
From the torrent, or the fountain,
From the red cliff of the mountain,
From the sun that ‘round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold -
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by -
From the thunder and the storm,
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view.”
Edgar Allan Poe
- Poul Ruders, January 2004