Folke Rabe: Nature, Herd and Relatives, a comment
Concerto for French Horn and String Orchestra /1991/

The soloist in a solo concerto may represent the lonely individual (in relation to the collective, the orchestra). When planning my Concerto for French Horn and String Orchestra I was thinking about various forms of loneliness. Facing the open sea at storm generates in me an intense experience of loneliness. My French Horn Concerto opens with a transcription of the dense, noisy sounds which I heard at distance from the roaring sea at Stor-Sudret, the south end of island Gotland in the Baltic Sea.

The Lappish yoik is one of the most individualistic among musical expressions; a highly affected singing, often practiced in solitude. When I began thinking about this Concerto the yoik was close to me. I was amongst Lappish friends in northern Sweden.

Four north Swedish yoiks (or rather "vuolle" which is the proper term in Lappish language), transcribed by me from phonograph records, are present in the French Horn Concerto where I have turned them and twisted them around, combining them with themselves and each other. They are:

1) Lars Nilsson Ruong's Vuolle that Jonas Edvard Steggo from Vatjamjaur in Arjeplog has carried on in live tradition.

2) Sarek, an old vuolle to the wild Sarek mountains, possibly describing how supernatural beings flee for the sun. I have heard a recording of Pavva Kallok from Sauka in Porjus.

3) Barturte, a vuolle on a vast pasture north of Lake Hornavan. Jonas Edvard Steggo learned this one from his uncle Jonas Eriksson Steggo, a famous carrier of yoik tradition.

4) Sara Kristina Johansdotter Ruong's Vuolle in which Israel Ruong from Arjeplog is singing of his mother.

Nature, Herd (the reindeer) and Relatives are the most frequent topics in the yoik. This is also the title of my Concerto, composed in great respect to a people that has been living in harmony with these fundamental components of existence. The work, by the way, happens to be the most classicist piece I have written so far. When performed in countries where English or Swedish respectively is not the native tongue the title should be translated.

The Concerto is a commission by "Rikskonserter", the Swedish National Concert Institute, initiated by the French Horn soloist Sören Hermansson to whom the work is dedicated. The solo cadenza of the Concerto is also published as a separate piece, Vuolle for French Horn in F solo.

The duration of Nature, Herd and Relatives is about 16 minutes.

Folke Rabe