Variasjonar over ei stille (Silence and Variations)

Program notes

Variasjonar over ei stille (Risto Holopainen, 1997) is based upon two poems by the composer. Originally written in Swedish, here they appear in Elin Lotsberg's Norwegian translation. Several of her readings of the poems, each with a different character, provide the sonic and structural material for the entire composition.

The melodic contour of the spoken phrases were transcribed and then resynthesized in a "blown-up" manner. A spoken phrase and its transcribed counterpart (oppdagar ein ny måte å gjera seg missforstådd - discover a new way of making yourself misunderstood) can be heard in this sound example.

The overall time proportions of the piece also relate to the proportions of speech and silence between the stanzas in a particular reading.

Here are the beginnings of the two poems:


stirring the cup of tea in her room
at pace with the revolving music


Behold the volcano, the lavae,
the living ash

The material was recorded at the Norwegian State Academy of Music in 1996, and the work was realised at NoTAM (Norwegian network for Technology, Acoustics and Music) in october 1997.


Variasjonar over ei stille was premiered March 5, 1998 in Oslo.

Duration: 19'