Saturday, 7 July 2012

Heavenly Cow-Calls

One of the most wonderful new music experiences I had in recent years was hearing a radio broadcast of Swedish composer Karin Rehnqvist's refreshing Requiem Aeternam for chorus and orchestra of 2008 - a life-enhancing tribute to the dead if there every was one. 

A key feature of this work, which unfortunately remains unrecorded to this day, is its use of the old Scandinavian folk tradition of kulning - the calling of cows and goats down from the mountains. In the Requiem these herding calls (from sopranos and orchestra) echo each other magically, principally through the technique of canon. One of its movements - the seventh - grew out of a beautiful work for unaccompanied treble/women's chorus and soloists from a decade earlier called I Himmelen ('In Heaven's Hall'). Here the memorable folk-style tune, canons and herding calls achieve a luminosity I hope you will find as pleasurable as I do. Amateur choirs seem to love it to. Please try it.

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