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Poems

Composer: Daniel Berg

Instrument: Vibraphone and Soprano

Level: Intermediate

Published: 2020

Price: €25.00


Item details

  • Description +
    • Duration: 14 min.

      Music: Daniel Berg     
      Text: Emily Dickinson

      When American poet Emily Dickinson died in 1886, only a few of her poems were published. She had sent her poems to a local critic, who tried to dissuade her from publishing and considered that her poetry was too dirty and odd, and therefore only a handful of her poems were published during her lifetime. After Emily's death, her sister was responsible for the publication of the 1700 poems and has since been praised by people all over the world. Dickinson was a very original poet, glorified and like to talk in the same breath. She wrote about conventional poetic subjects such as nature, love, death and God.

      The combination of the sound from a vibraphone, together with a soprano, fits so well together. When Taiwanese-American percussionist Yun Ju Pan asked me for a piece for soprano with percussion, I suggested the vibraphone. To get as much contrast as possible in the composition, I chosen texts by Emily Dickinson with very different character for the four first movements. The fifth one is written more like a jazz ballad and some sort of reflection of the poems by Dickinson - a final poem without words.

  • Instrumentation +
    • Vibraphone and Soprano

  • About the composer +
    • Daniel Berg is a Swedish composer, musician and professor in classical percussion. He combines the role of writing music with being a versatile musician and teaches solo percussion and chamber music at the University College of Music in Gothenburg, Stockholm and Örebro in Sweden. 

      In his passion to promote the marimba as a solo- and chamber music instrument, Daniel has worked intimately with a number of composers who have written original music for the instrument. This includes more than 250 world premieres for solo and chamber works. Daniel Berg is an artist of Bergerault Marimbas and Elite Mallets. 

      As a composer Daniel has written a lot for percussion published by Edition Svitzer like his Kroumata for percussion sextet, Images for Percussion Duo and Yán Jiāng (Magma) for solo marimba - a commission from the Taiwan World Percussion Competition 2020.

  • Reviews +
    • Review (Percussive Notes, October 2021)
       
      Daniel Berg states in his prefatory remarks, “The combination of the sound from a vibraphone, together with a soprano, fits so well together. To get as much contrast as possible in the overall composition, I chose texts by Emily Dickinson with very different character for the four first movements. The fifth movement is written more like a jazz ballad and some sort of reflection of the four poems by Dickinson — a final musical poem without words.”

      The four poems selected by Berg (from Emily Dickinson’s poetry) are 1. “As if some little Arctic Flower,” 2. “Because I could not stop for death,” 3. “’Hope’ is the thing with feathers,” and 4. “I felt a funeral in my brain.” The fifth movement, “Poem without words,” is a vocalise (sung on “Aaa,” “Ooo,” or “Mmm”). This movement has a jazz-ballad sound to it. Each of the first four movements has a different character and style: Movement 1 is rhythmically propelling in the vibraphone in a non-tonal harmonic structure; Movement 2 has soft tone clusters on the vibraphone with whispering of the lyrics from the soprano; Movement 3 opens with block harmonic scoring 
      before transitioning to triplets, with the soprano imitating the triplets in Dickinson’s text, ending with harmonies that are similar to the opening; and Movement 4 opens with a harmonic ostinato that is rhythmic, repetitive, and loud, with the soprano soaring above this accompaniment in a very bold, contrasting fashion.
       
      This delightful 14-minute fusion of soprano and vibraphone is suitable for two equally talented performers.
       
      —Jim Lambert
  • Credits +
    • Art work (Photo): Bengt Berglund
      Front Cover: Ronni Kot Wenzell
      Photo (Daniel Berg): Jon Liinason
      Engraving: CPH Engraving
      Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
      Copyright © Edition SVITZER
      www.editionsvitzer.com

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