Jenny Hettne is awarded the Järnåker scholarship 2018

By on January 6, 2019
Ia Neumüller

The Saltö Foundation, established by donor Erik Järnåker, has since 2009 awarded significant chamber music compositions composed by Swedish composers. The 2018 Järnåker scholarship is awarded to composer Jenny Hettne for the work A swarm came in from the dark (2014). Sweden’s largest chamber music scholarship of SEK 100,000 was awarded on January 5 at the annual Järnåker concert at Musikaliska in Stockholm.

The jury motivates the selection of Jenny Hettne’s chamber music A swarm came in from the dark in the following ways:

“A small but large composition. In this year’s winning work, the jury has found a composition that exudes an irresistible blend of weightless elegance and a kind of popular cheerfulness and confidence in the treatment of its material; an easy summer wind filled with the sounds of insects, all rooted in a music that rests in the sound by attracting unexpected sounds and colors from the given instruments and creating an unpredictable and fascinating game. The work is joined by a long series of short, striking moments that go to the core of what it is to compose, namely to vary but at the same time be able to hold on.

The jury also finds a wonderful coherence between the sounds and the notation in this work. The whole thing is designed with unusual clarity in an almost self-explanatory note. Based on a traditional instrument, the composer takes a safe grip on the design of the rich, timeless palette. The crew for whom the work is written, (plus a viola in this case) have been the starting point for a number of European art music works. Yet this soundy result is very original.

Most of the work, with a few exceptions, is in the middle and high places as if to give the illusion of an insect world. Nevertheless, the work does not appear to be fashioned or artificial; The few places that tones from the deeper registers are put into play, it creates a drama that puts the other brighter registers in further relief. Even when introducing an instrument such as the piano (played on keys) in these fragile, soundy surroundings, the composer shows her sense of sound integration; The work here also contains a kind of naivism that is not disturbing but which tells us that all music probably originated in the melody, this musical element that creates instant communication and the joy of recognition.

With this, Swedish chamber music has been given a work that the jury is already daring to proclaim to a classic, who has the ability to only tell tones and sounds a story about man’s incredible ability to perception with a subsequent personal colored representation.” (Text by the jury chairman Asbjørn Schaathun).

The award-winning work A swarm came in from the dark (2014) was an order from the Gothenburg-based ensemble Gageego!. It is a work written for solo violin and six instruments that Jenny Hettne composed specifically for violinist Karin Hellqvist. It was performed by Karin Hellqvist and Gageego! in Stockholm and Gothenburg in 2015 and by Karin Hellqvist and Ensemble Mimitabu during Swedish Music Spring 2017.
The composer Jenny Hettne received the award and was interviewed by the chairman of the Saltö Foundation Anna Lindal at the annual chamber concert to Erik Järnåker’s memory on January 5, 2019 at Musikaliska i Stockholm.

– I’m very, very happy! I am passionate about the contemporary chamber music, both in my role as a composer and as a concert organizer. I think it is fantastic that there is a prize that draws attention to contemporary chamber music in such a nice way, says Jenny Hettne, recipient of the Järnåker scholarship 2018.

Helena Olofsson, Culture & Music | Stockholm