frontside compositions

Rain – Heart – Hammer

Jonatan Sersam

performing musicians

We are delighted that Sveriges Radio P2 is partnering with us in 2025, as their commissioned work by Jonatan Sersam will result in a premiere at our festival.

The new piece by Jonatan Sersam has a setting for clarinet and string trio and will be performed by Karin Dornbusch, Cecilia Zilliacus, Ylvali McTigert Zilliacus and Kati Raitinen.

Jonathan’s comment on the work so far (May 20, 2024):
“I’m looking forward to coming to Frontside. I’m fully immersed in the composition. So far, I don’t have much definitively planned, but I know it will consist of three movements.

I talked to Karin (Dornbusch, Frontside’s artistic director, editor’s note) about potentially linking my piece to one of the other pieces on the concert programme, and she mentioned Britten’s Canticle III: Still falls the Rain.I looked at the poem by Edith Sitwell that is sung in that piece and was inspired by the transformation of sound described in the second stanza, the sound of rain becoming the sound of heartbeats, becoming the sound of hammer blows, becoming the sound of marching feet… I meditated on that and thought that my music could undergo a similar transformation. We don’t usually think about it, but even though we hear rain as something static, it consists of billions of individual drops. Rain that varies in intensity can therefore be experienced as a dynamic sound mass.

In the first movement, a gesture is formed that gradually appears more and more frequently until it eventually forms a pulse. The second movement opens with drops, flageolet pizzicati, in the strings creating a sort of structure. This develops, with the clarinet sailing over, under, and within this drop structure, eventually leading into the third movement, which is a sort of perpetuum mobile. Here, the idea is developed that something which seems static on the surface is actually in constant flux, through small incremental shifts. This is about as far as I’ve gotten in my thoughts. I’ve sketched out parts of all three movements, but there’s still a lot to do before I know exactly where I’m heading with each one.”

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