Tartini in Bergen

Posted on May 31st, 2016 by


End of the project 2 6 16

End of the project 2 6 16

Bergen, Festpillene Residency Day Three 2 June 2016

Without doubt, one of the most intense days of music making I have ever experienced.

My home for the week Lepramuseet Bergen

My home for the week Lepramuseet Bergen

Now I have a real sense of the sound, the air space, the smell, the textures of this extraordinary building as a musical home. My performances of the Tartini have evolved, become much more intimate. The Philip Glass has morphed into a far more meditative experience (for me).

Philip Glass 'Strung Out' 2 6 31

Philip Glass ‘Strung Out’ 2 6 31

There was an extraordinarily concentrated atmosphere for the evening concert, and the audience remained silent until the very last note-playing for 70 minutes without applause, without a pause between pieces, between centuries, is an amazing experience.

Mid concert-reading Tartini Photo Malene Skaerved 2 6 31

Mid concert-reading Tartini Photo Malene Skaerved 2 6 31

After the concert, we were honoured with supper by Schak Bull (Ole Bull’s great-grand nepher) and then went to his lovely home, where we talked about music making and played on Bull’s amazing bow- which is 2 inches longer than a normal instrument.

Playing Bull's bow overlooking the city 11pm 2 6 16

Playing Bull’s bow overlooking the city 11pm 2 6 16

The walk home took us via a necessary pilgrimage. Ole Bull’s grave. He has been the centre of my work in Bergen for years, and was, like me, a Tartini enthusiast.

A final late night pilgrimage to Bull's grave 2 6 31

A final late night pilgrimage to Bull’s grave 2 6 31

Bergen, Festpillene Residency Day Two 1 June 2016

Today was one of wonder for me, relaxing into the slow rhythm of a four hour performance, as listeners came and went, and as the light changed in the extraordinary church.

View from above. Playing Jorg Widmann-Etude 1 St Joergens Church. Bergen 1 6 16 (Photo Malene Skaerved)

View from above. Playing Jorg Widmann-Etude 1 St Joergens Church. Bergen 1 6 16 (Photo Malene Skaerved)

I was also delighted that Schak Bull, the great grandnephew of Ole Bull, came to the concert and noted its essentially meditative character.

With SchakBull 1 6 18

With SchakBull 1 6 18

The Bergen rain returned today so, after the concert, we spent time enraptured in the earliest buildings in Bergen, and particularly the 12th century carvings in veined soapstone on Mariakirken. A reminder, not that Malene needed it, that we are in Viking territory.

Soapstone Carving (12th Century) on the South Door of Mariakirken, Bergen

Soapstone Carving (12th Century) on the South Door of Mariakirken, Bergen

And with the rain, comes every more lushness; this is a country forever burgeoning.

Buttercups and rain in the old Solar of Bergenhus Castle (13th Century) 1 6 16

Buttercups and rain in the old Solar of Bergenhus Castle (13th Century) 1 6 16

Evis Sammoutis' new Etudes, on one of my stands. Lepramuseet Bergen 31 5 16

Evis Sammoutis’ new Etudes, on one of my stands. Lepramuseet Bergen 31 5 16

Bergen, Festpillene Residency Day one 31 May 2016

Malene and I escaped from the unravelling British Summer, and arrived in Norway this morning. First order of business, settling into the sublime acoustic and memoried space that is St Joergen’s Church, at Lepramuseet Museum, where my performances/installation begins tomorrow.

One of the eight 'stations' for playing. St Joergen's Church, Lepramuseet, Bergen 31 5 16

One of the eight ‘stations’ for playing. St Joergen’s Church, Lepramuseet, Bergen 31 5 16

I have set up stands in eight positions around the church, and spent a few hours today, feeling out the old and new works in this architectural wonder. Philip Glass ‘Strung Out’ seems to work perfectly along the aisle. It was particularly magical to feel Evis’ exquisite piece finding its way into the church. I had a real sense of the bridge that Evis is building between the ancient city of Nicosia and the North.

Evis Sammoutis' 'Nicosia Etudes' on the Stand. 31 5 16 Bergen

Evis Sammoutis’ ‘Nicosia Etudes’ on the Stand. 31 5 16 Bergen

I am trying to feel my way into Tartini’s private/public practice/office in St Antonio Padua, which means being in the space, playing for myself for him.

Playing Station in the Pews St Joergen's Church, Bergen

Playing Station in the Pews St Joergen’s Church, Bergen

And then three hours in the hills. Astonishing that to walk straight out this lovely town to this.

Absolution. Looking South from the Vidder, 5pm 31 5 16

Absolution. Looking South from the Vidder, 5pm 31 5 16

A perfect place to be quiet, to think. More on this project, when it gets going for real, tomorrow.

Writer/Filmmaker Malene Skaerved in the Granite and Moss landscape 31 5 16

Writer/Filmmaker Malene Skaerved in the Granite and Moss landscape 31 5 16

[audio][/audio]