Self Portrait in Bright Light

This quartet piece was written for clarinetist Hans Christian Bræin and Cikada String quartet. Together with a text which can be performed by narrator or pre recorded sound files, it forms  a small narrative and a reflection about the difficulties of being really present in ones own life. The text is partly written by the composer and partly taken from the book “The reality of Being” by Jeanne de Salzmann.

The narrative and the reflections is partly spoken by the musicians, the voices on the sound files and the narrator.

There was only one other person apart from myself on the beach.

I could see the silhouette, in the distance

Sitting in the sand, facing the ocean.

I could not see if it was a man or a woman.

I stood still for a long time.

The other person did not move or turn around either

Thru the noise of the waves and the wind

There came a sound.

A strange sound.

It came from the silouette,

The distant human figure who was facing the ocean.

I could hear the sound quite clearly

Travelling across the beach.

Thru wind and waves

It sounded like an animal.

Like a cat perhaps, or a dog.

A cat or a dog locked out of its house.

Wanting to get inside to eat.

Longing to lay down on its warm carpet.

A sustained sound

Longing to lay down

But couldn´t.

Because the door was closed.

The house inacessible

This strange sound travelling across the beach.

Like an animal singing of sorrow in front of a locked door.

Ensemble Narrator

I remain a mystery

I do not remember

A mystery to myself

I do not remember

I long for permanence

I do not remember

Yet everything about me is temporary

I am not aware


When I feel

When I see

When I do something

Who am I – in this, in this

If I could understand this

In this world

If I could remember

I want to wake up

I feel that I am looking

But I cannot

Saying to myself: ”I am looking”.

Am I a mountain?

I have two impressons, one of the beach

Am I the blue sky?

And another of myself looking at it.

Am I a mountain?

I have to understand what this means

I breathe this air

I walk this beach

I breathe this air

I walk this beach

15 Minutes
Soloist: narrator
Orchestration: cl.str4tet.tape (CD)
Publisher: Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen