Folke Rabe: Sardine Sarcophagus /1994-95/, comment
Maybe it is only in the city of Bergen on the Norwegian west coast that the title of my trumpet concerto can be understood immediately. It may be interpreted as a greeting to the Music Factory Festival of Bergen, which commissioned the piece, and to its performance space in an old Sardine Factory in the harbour. However, after I decided on this title it began living its own life.
The Sardine Sarcophagus occurs to me as a surrealistic image that constantly arouses new associations. In Seville, Spain a sardine is buried each year as a part of the Holy Week rituals. This is an actual event. But you may also allow your own paths of associations to bloom...
To me this work is closely related to the time when it came into being, the fall of 1994, a sad and tragic autumn in Northern Europe as well as in other parts of the world. The Sardine Sarcophagus includes some quotations (in the deepest respect) from Das Lied von der Erde, one of Gustav Mahler's last, completed works. That is music, which is very dear to me.
Håkan Hardenberg's recording of three Swedish trumpet concertos (one of them is the Sardine Sarcophagus) on the BIS label was honoured with a Swedish "Grammis" award in the year 2000.