Paraphrase I (2015)

 
 

For ob +(ehn), cl (+bcl), pno, db

Duration

Fp: Zagros Ensemble, Klang Concert Series, Camerata, Helsinki Music Centre, May 4, 2015

 

Paraphrase I was the beginning for a larger Paraphrase-cycle that consists of several independent works. The starting point in each of the cycle’s work is a specific composers work or a genre. The works of the cycle can be performed either as independent works or consecutively as a cycle.

In the Paraphrase-cycle I approach the concept of paraphrase as a way of self-reflection as well as a commentary on a specific historical style. My composing process begins from a place where I’m relatively close to the original music, until I gradually move farther away from it, leaving. During this process the musical material goes through a variety of filters resulting in an unexpected synthesis of elements I’ve extracted from the original work combined with ways of expression that are typical for myself.

Paraphrase I was the result of a project for 150th anniversary of the birth of Sibelius. Sibelius’s programmic music and tone poems resonate with me in particular. Consequently I chose the text of Viktor Rydberg’s Swedish poem Verandan vid havet, on the basis which Sibelius has also written a song.

The piece follows strictly the poem’s narrative and derives all of its material from the Sibelius song. Likewise to the poem, the piece is divided into three sections. I aim to illustrate the poem’s content in each of the sections musically.

In the first section where the shimmering waves are sighing, the idea of sighs can be found in the downward melodic gestures (minor second) by the woodwinds and double bass. The wave functions as a structural element in the overall curve of the density in the whole section. The waves can be found also in the surface elements and gestures of the individual instruments combined with the sonic idea of glittering.

In the second section where the sadly twinkling perpetual stars in the sky are vanishing, the gesture of vanishing is repeated three times and all the melodic material is derived from the declining thirds in Sibelius song.

The third section describes how the shore, sky and sea had sunk to the longing for eternity. There are three appearances of the declining gesture. The piece ends in a silence after the anticipation of God, and the three attacks in the piano with the major third (g-b) resemble church bells.

 

På verandan vid havet

Rydberg, Viktor (1828-1895)

Minns du de skymnande böljornas suck,

att vid målet de hunnit

endast en jordisk kust,

icke det evigas strand?

 

Minns du ett vemodssken från himlens

ovanskliga stjärnor?

Ack, åt förgängelsens lott

skatta de även till slut.

 

Minns du en tystnad, då allt var som

sänkt oändlighetsträngtan,

stränder och himmel och hav,

allt som i aning om Gud?

 

24.08.2018, HBL, Wilhelm Kvist

Translation: ”Particularly great was also the first Paraphrase piece, where the connection to Sibelius (På verandan vid havet) became apparent by the superbly beautiful English horn (Saku Mattila) and motifs based on thirds. Otherwise, one could observe the beautifully falling, crumbling lines contrasting the piano’s (Emil Holmström) harsh accents.”

 

7.5.2015, HBL, Wilhelm Kvist

”Kompositionerna under en konsert som denna blir faktiskt som mest effektiva när man hänsynslöst ger sig på att parafrasera. Sebastian Hillis Paraphrase för oboe, klarinett, kontrabas och piano tillhörde de finaste styckena, med en melodi som återges som små fragment i de olika stämmorna. Det engelska hornet är en så uppenbar hänvisning till Sibelius att det är svårt att missta sig.”

 

5.5.2015, Rondo Classic, Auli Särkiö-Pitkänen

”Oboelle, klarinetille, kontrabassolle ja pianolle sävelletty Paraphrase muovasi Viktor Rydbergin transsendentaalisen öisestä tekstistä nykyaikaisen sävelrunon, jonka aineksina oli käytetty Sibeliuksen laulun atomeja.

Nuorten säveltäjien suurin haaste vaikutti olevan tasapainoisen muotokaaren rakentaminen ja tapahtumien toimiva annostelu. Parhaiten onnistui Hilli, jonka sävellyksessä yksinkertaisen alku-keskikohta-loppu -rakenteen korostaminen toimi mainiosti. Selkeä ulkomusiikillisuus tuntui myös auttaneen säveltäjää vangitsevan kappaleen luomisessa ja vapautuneessa soitinilmaisussa, johon zagroslaiset eläytyen tarttuivat: puhaltimien laulavat, ekspressiiviset linjat toivat mieleen symbolistisen maisemamaalauksen tummat värikentät, ja pianon tukahtuneet, juhlavat aksentit kaikuivat ajattoman jylhää melankoliaa. Lopun englannintorvimelodiat muistuttivat, miten rakastettua Sibeliuksen musiikin luonnonmystiikka on.”

 

Sheet music