One of the key moments in Sebastian Fagerlund’s career arrived with the Clarinet Concerto (2005–2006). He had already written several fine works, but here he discovered the expressive idiom that would form the foundation for much of his subsequent output. His music is characterised by stylistic elements drawn from a wide range of influences, fused into a concise and dramaturgically effective musical language.
Partita for strings and percussion was completed soon after the Clarinet Concerto, in 2007–2009. Unlike many of Fagerlund’s works, it focuses on slow tempos that dominate the flanking movements of the three-movement structure. The titles of the movements imply that the work has a strong mythical undertone despite its neutral overall title. This impression is further heightened by the three percussion parts, which employ a broad variety of instruments.
The opening movement, ‘Cerimonia’ – with the performing instruction ‘Misterioso’ – begins with a slowly breathing, mysterious layer of sound punctuated by ritualistic soft percussion blows. A melodic arc emerging from the low register carries the music to a culmination from which the middle movement, ‘Risonanza’, emerges without a break. Its edgy kinetic energy subsides to the threshold of silence at times but finally escalates to a shamanist pulsation.
The concluding movement, ‘Preghiera’, takes us deep into the realm of mystery. The music is coloured by meditations in tones evoking the Middle East, resembling lonely souls searching for something indescribable by words. The spacious texture evolves into a translucently radiant conclusion that seems utterly detached from the mundane world.
Text: Kimmo Korhonen