Benjamin Staern (1978-)

Polar Vortex: (Symphony No. 1)


1. Frozen City;
2. Northern Lights (Intermezzo)
3. Volcanic Eruption (Finale)

  • Year of composition: 2013-14/17
  • Work category: Symphony
  • Dedication: Leif Segerstam
  • First performed: November 14th 2014,
    Konserthuset Gävle
    Gävle Symphony Orchestra
    Leif Segerstam, conductor
  • Duration: Approx. 20-25 min
  • Detailed duration: 25


2*22*2* 4231 13 11, str.

Location for score and part material

Gehrmans Musikförlag AB

Description of work

Ett tre-satsigt verk där alla satser framförs utan avbrott.


Work comment

olar Vortex or polar vortices cause dramatic weather events, such as 50 degrees below zero in the US a few years ago, volcanic or meteor outbursts, extreme heat, cold or storms. It is a tonal journey in three sets of weather conditions around the world and are not intended as program music, but that it is "music with inner images."

The first movement "Frozen City" is described as a city in total frostbite and a lot of snow around it where the sun shines brightly through the window. Now and then we hear the winds that pass by.

The second movement "Northern Lights" has an aurora-like shimmer of the orchestral part using harmonic loops in a meditative state. The heat rises, lava flows up over the landscape in the score it says clearly "like a lava activity" and all the ice begins to melt.

The third movement "Volcanic Eruption" (Finale) is a ritual dance with passion and pagan rites. One hears riffs from percussion that thunders on in the score "Like a pagan dance!". Some elements from previous movements show up, the whole thing spins further to a colourful finale.