Páll Ragnar PÁLSSON: “Hermitage” for solo violin (2020)

(Commissioned by violinist Patrick T.S. Yim)



(Written by the composer)

“While I was working on this short piece for solo violin the world was going through a pandemic, affecting the life and health of countless many people – as I write these words there are eight point seven million confirmed cases and over four hundred and sixty thousand dead. During this time, me, my wife and son mostly spent our time at our home and tried to get on with our routine in spite of the situation. Although it was forced then at the same time, I couldn’t help experiencing the sense of solitude we were forced into more like in a comforting way rather than isolated. So, by taking a step away from our daily routine I felt in a way more spiritually connected to the world that before, as contradictory as it may sound.

Hermitage is a place where a hermit or even a group of people live in seclusion from the world, usually in relation to their spiritual or religious beliefs. Obviously, there is also a museum bearing the same name in St. Petersburg, Russia, which me and my wife visited some years ago. The Hermitage there is loaded with artworks creating a culturally extremely saturated environment that suffocates and inspires at the same time. I perceive this piece as exactly that, a space where we can leave our usual life behind just for these few minutes and have a moment with ourselves. This solitude, though, has no meaning without all the fruitful and inspiring connections to the present and the past, inside and outside, near and far.”