The Fifth String (Femte strängen)

One ascending six note motif quickly gets under one's skin. Femte strängen is a sursprisingly hypnotic piece which represents familias sounding materials in unusual, beautiful ways.
- Richard Hanlon, MusicWeb International

Program Note

Lightness and Quickness are at the top of Italo Calvino’s interesting list of values in his ”Six Memos for the Next Millenium” that he wrote for lectures at Harvard 1985. The list continues with Exactitude, Visibility and Multiplicity. I like his list.

The Fifth String for solo violin is the last one in a family of works that I call Rhythm and Sound. These works are all built on arpeggiation on harmonics and in this solo piece the length of the arpeggiation, the number of pitches in every stroke of the bow, is one of the rhythmic and technical things that I focused on.

The Fifth String was composed in collaboration with the young amazing violinist Karin Hellqvist who premiered the piece at the Ultima Festival in Oslo, Norway, 2011.

Karin Hellqvist, Ultima, Oslo 2011
Karin Hellqvist, Ultima, Oslo 2011
Press Clippings

a remarkably delicate sounding virtuoso performance made up largely of ever expanding and more complex arpeggiations that had the bow seesawing over the strings and at one point the bow ran almost silently over the edge of the violin body no doubt playing on the eponymous 5th String

English Title
The Fifth String (or The 5th String)
c:a 9'
For Karin Hellqvist
First Performance
Karin Hellqvist, Ultima Festival, Oslo Sep. 17 2011
Other Performances
  • Aaron Packard, Skogensemble, New York 2011.
  • Karin Hellqvist, Nordic Music Days, Stockholm, 2012
  • Milan Pal'a, ICSM World New Music Days 2013, Kosice.
  • Karin Hellqvist, Centre Culturél Suedois, Paris 2014
  • Ruben Zilberstein, London, 2014
  • Karin Hellqvist, San Sebastian, 2015
  • Ruben Zilberstein, Örebro, 2016.
  • Karin Hellqvist, Svensk Musikvår, Stockholm 2017
  • Karin Hellqvist, Stavanger, 2019
  • Julie Haring, Hartford, USA, April 27, 2019