“Hoffentlich mussten Sie an der Grenze nicht lange warten” (2011) 36′

for baritone solo and ensemble

Voice(Bar) solo – Ensemble: 1-1-1-1 1-1-1-0 perc:2 hp acc cemb vln:2 vla vcl

Score: “Hoffentlich mussten Sie an der Grenze nicht lange warten”

Commissioned by Oslo Sinfonietta with support from Det Norske Komponistfond.

First performance by Halvor Festervoll Melien and Oslo Sinfonietta conducted by Renato Rivolta.


In 2008, the singer Halvor Melien and I traveled by train from Oslo, through Europe, over the Balkans to Istanbul. During this trip, an idea of a piece for baritone and ensemble started to emerge, a piece that somehow would incorporate the very journey on which it was planned.

The texts in the piece are therefore collected from a sort of travel diary we kept during the three weeks, containing different quotes we heard during the tour, the actual train tables we had to follow and a text message received from a Bosnian lady, welcoming us across the border, hence the title of the piece.

Being asked to make a list of music for voice being important to him, Halvor immediately mentioned Monteverdi’s Orfeo. As part of the journey took place in the landscapes in which Orfeo himself was said to live in, I wanted to somehow include also him in the piece. I have chosen texts from the third act of Monteverdi’s Orfeo, the scene where Orfeo sings for Caronte, to possibly be able to cross the ultimate border, the border between life and death.