Musica Marina

by Erik Bergman

for string orchestra

Empty sheet

Erik Bergman

Musica Marina

Fennica Gehrman


Musica marina is music inspired by the sea and the face that it shows to all who are enthralled by its beauty and greatness. The sea develops defiance and resolution amongst sailing folk, forced as they are to tame the wind and the waves.

The first movement, Introduction, generates an energy which characterises the work as a whole, except for the second movement, May Night, which tries to convey the atmosphere of a spring evening in the North. In this movement a solo cello makes its appearance — a solitary person’s meditation and emotions, as it were — and this idea is developed further in a more dramatic way in the last movement, called Onward!. It seemed appropriate to journey more widely over the oceans without further hesitation. In the third movement, Setting Sail!, one is confronted with a rhythmic motive used again in the fourth movement which in its exertive forward movement lends power to the expressive content of the music. Similar thematic materials used in the various movements serve to unify the composition.

Musica marina is intended as a hommage to the untiring and skilful folk who put so much devotion into building the ship Jacobstads Wapen. This vessel made its maiden voyage on 21 May 1994.

© Erik Bergman, 1996

(translated by © Andrew Bentley)

Musica marina is a suite in four movements for string orchestra and, like Poseidon, is on a nautical theme. Traditional ‘sea music’ may spring to mind on listening to the wave-like crescendo-diminuendo oscillation of the beginning of the third movement, but otherwise Bergman does not play much on the descriptive element. The timbre element is richest in the quiet, slow second movement in which flageolet webs and sul ponticello tremoli create mysterious atmospheres. The last movement rises to a mighty climax reinforced by boisterous shouts from the players at several points.

© Kimmo Korhonen, November 1998

(translated by © Susan Sinisalo, February 1999)

Musica marina on jousiorkesterille kirjoitettu neliosainen sarja, joka liittyy Poseidonin tavoin merelliseen aihepiiriin. Perinteisen ”merimusiikin” keinot voivat tulla mieleen kolmannen osan alun crescendo-diminuendo-aaltoilusta, mutta muutoin Bergman ei ole vienyt kuvailevaa ulottuvuutta korostetun pitkälle. Väriulottuvuus on rikkaimmillaan hiljaisiin sävyihin painottuvassa hitaassa toisessa osassa, jossa jousten flageoletti-kentät ja sul ponticello -tremolot luovat salaperäisiä tunnelmia. Viimeinen osa kasvaa väkevään huipennukseen, jota soittajat tehostavat pariin otteeseen myös räväköillä huudoilla.

© Kimmo Korhonen, November 1998




Works for Orchestra or Large Ensemble

Opus no.



Ostrobothnian Chamber Orchestra, cond. Juha Kangas, Pietarsaari, May 20, 1994


1. Johdanto (Introduction), 2. Toukokuun yö (Majnatt / May Night), 3. Merelle! (Till havs! / Setting Sail!), 4. Eteenpäin! (Framåt! / Onward!)

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