Loftið Varð Skyndilega Kalt
"It also reminds me of the importance of having a solid foundation to put my life on. Every time I listen to this song it's like o reminder to me. A reminder of my own fragility and vulnerability, but also a reminder that even if my own melody threatens me of going out of track there is something greater than me that holds me and brings me back to (...)"
Today I would like to share some thoughts about another piece from the album "... And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness": Loftið Varð Skyndilega Kalt
Nathan, a friend of mine, wanted me to write an article for this piece and the moving and deep introductory words are also from him. It will also be discussed below.
Hard to believe. When these words are written, the piece is exactly 10 years old. Release was in May 2010. Ólafur Arnalds was 23 years old.
Equipped with three 'bbb' I would give this round and tonal piece the basis of C minor. If you could give the piece a feeling. What would it be
In the resulting simplicity and stringency, many emotions can be projected into the artwork. Why is this piece, I feel, particularly melancholic?
It starts with a slow and simple apgreggio from C G C - a C5 to Fsus2 to Cm. C5 brings openness into the piece as the first note, while Fsus2 I can represent as a lead note. Fsus2 wants to be resolved, but it does not become so deeply depressing in Cm, which in turn keeps the tension in the simplicity of the beginning.
In bar 5, the left hand now accompanies the dancing soprano in the right hand in leaps and bounds. The melody in the right hand thus initially dances on the G, on the fifth, on the dominant. The impression through the whole piece is supported by the left hand like a healing crutch, the dancing indecisiveness, the dancing whining, the dancing longing, which is reinforced in bars 15 and 16 by a short opening by Forte.
A brief reassurance and the first violin begins in bar 20 with a flat and thus directly with a tritone, an excessive fourth, the most devilish and in our ears most dissonant tone in the spectrum of harmony.
And yet - you hear more sadness than chaotic madness. Could it be because of the gentle sound idea of the strings? The ace comes in so subtly knocking - you don't see the devil at all - rather the fragility of life. This is all the more astonishing, since the many fifths, a semitone more than a tritone, and in contrast, depicting the perfect harmony, decorate the piece at the beginning.
Perhaps nowhere is the fragile and the pure as a whole understood in a more harmonious symbiosis.
In measure 28 the viola begins with C. Gradually the piece becomes more polyphonic. The voices, and thus the feelings, intensify. In measure 37 the violin cello also comes in with C. In bar 45 the violin I now also with C. All strings, except for the violin II. At the beginning, therefore, begin with the basic tone and thus try to calm the dancing restlessness of the piano melody, giving it a deep but not flat security give.
Nathan, who wanted this piece as an analysis, hardly describes it better by writing:
"It's nice how small the distance between the lower notes is, mostly it's just a semitone shift, it's so subtle, but I feel like there is an abyss between them that holds the melody of a derailment. Every time the main line of the song tries to race and run away, the lower instruments, especially the cello, keep them on hold and get everything back on track. ”
Nathan additionally calls my idea of the dancing restlessness of the melody "the frenzied runaway" ...
cMoll offers a nice key to the character of the melody, because Justin Heinrich Knecht already titled cMoll in one word: deeply wailing. Ferdinand Gotthelf Hand describes the tone character of cMoll as a desire for comfort. The melody's miserable dance wants to be comforted by the strings. It is not Hollywood consolation, otherwise the last piano chord would not end in C minor. It is perhaps a very compassionate consolation that the strings donate here. They feel with you, even down to the tritone, in the darkest darkness of the soul.
In measure 61 the piano melody ends with a minor third - with a C minor, which in the beginning Apreggio was the third chord after C5 and Fsus2. Now the strings have the final say.
The strings step out of the piece in the order in which they came. Finally, the last note of violin II. - Ace - a certain leading note that pushes towards the G, the fifth, but is not resolved at the end. As so often, Ólafur Arnalds leaves the end open and exciting.
Here is the whole thought of Nathan as the end of this incredibly moving piece of music:
The work from Ólafur Arnalds is special to me because it takes me to places inside of me that are really hard to access and process and it's kinda contradictory that a sad song like loftið verður skyndilega kalt brings me joy, but that's how I would describe how this piece affects me.
It's beautiful how the distance between the lower notes is so small, most of the time it is just a semitone shift, it's so subtle, but I feel like there is an abysm between them that holds the melody from a derail. Every time the main line of the song tries to rush and run away, the lower instruments, especially the Cello puts it on hold and brings everything back on track. I love this song because it reminds me of how life is. A lot of things can happen that show us that we're not in control at all, we may go out of track sometimes feeling the burden of being human and vulnerable, but there is always something or someone that holds us and put us back on track.
It also reminds me of the importance of having a solid foundation to put my life on. Every time I listen to this song it's like o reminder to me. A reminder of my own fragility and vulnerability, but also a reminder that even if my own melody threatens me of going out of track there is something greater than me that holds me and brings me back to stillness if only I give up fighting and running away. And even if it seems that nothing is really happening, as the very subtle notes shifts in this song, there is a lot being processed under the hood.
I strongly recommend you to listen to this song with headphones in a very calm place with your eyes closed.