Peter V. Swendsen



Bright Days of Little Sunlight (2008)

for chamber ensemble and stereo tape


Jenny Elfving, violin ∙ Edward Rankin-Parker, cello ∙ Sarah Pyle, flute ∙ Curt Miller, clarinet ∙ Jennifer Torrence, percussion

Bright Days of Little Sunlight is based on the experience of winter in Norway— particularly the very gradual yet ephemeral appearance and disappearance of the sun during the shortest days of winter. These days were intensely beautiful, filled with long shadows and much twilight, along with fog, ice, snow, holiday folk songs, and the promise of warmth indoors. The sun barely rose above the Oslofjord, making the bold colors of sunrise and sunset last almost the whole (short) day. A few specific sounds from this time appear in the piece: The cello solo (Bereden väg för herran—actually Swedish) and later melody fragments (Deilig er Jorden) are traditional folk songs. The latter, in particular, is so consistently performed at this time of year that one feels it is always floating in the air. The tape part, as well as much of the acoustic material, is derived from such things as the foghorns in the Oslofjord, church bells in Lysaker (near Oslo), strong winds recorded in the mountains near Gausdal (in central Norway), and water and ice recordings from Sognefjord, in western Norway.

bright daysbright days
bright daysbright days

[studio recording on Allusions to Seasons and Weather; performance materials available upon request]

© 2016 pvs