Description of a Picture

On October 28 and 30, Erik Dæhlin will perform his composition “Description of a Picture” at 1857. The work is commissioned by NOTAM and supported by Det Norske Komponistfond and Arts Council Norway.

Date and time: October 28 and 30, 2011 at 19:00 and 21:00
There is limited seating for each performance.
Please RSVP to book in advance.

The piece is based on Heiner Müller’s text “Bildbeschreibung” from 1984. It is a ‘tableau vivant’ – an ever-changing landscape – where an image is placed on top of another. Images and narratives fade into each other.

The text is drawn from an archive of memories and possible connections, which is to say actions go in all directions, at any time. A specific time of reading is created before the text moves on, and the reader is confronted with the perception of time. There are references to other works and worlds. Still, a certain consistency in what is perceived can be grasped.

At the performance, eight speaker elements are hung from the concrete ceiling using piano wire, and positioned according to the picture described by Müller. They mark out a visual and auditive room. As the text and the sound moves through the speakers, action, time and space accumulate. The text is read in three languages: Norwegian, German and English.

The speakers and electromagnetic fields make the piano strings vibrate, creating slow feedback glissandi. The sound composition that creates the counter-point to the text – the hidden plan – is based on these feedback sounds from the piano wire, noise and musical fragments detected in the text, as well as referential music. The idea is based on the image – on the description of it.

About the artists

  • Erik Dæhlin (b. 1976) is trained as a percussionist at the Conservatory in Tromsø, where he finished in 1998. He completed compositional studies at the Academy Of Music in Oslo in 2006. Dæhlin has performed in most Norwegian festivals for contemporary music, mainly through ensembles as NING, Puls Percussion Ensemble and the duo Sploing. Dæhlin has produced CDs and radio recordings. As a composer he has been active since 1997, doing solo-, chamber- and orchestral music, as well as instrumental theater pieces and electroacoustic pieces. During the recent years, Dæhlin has been occupied with music that integrates performative material that unfolds in and beyond the music and in relation to the performance space.
  • Heiner Müller (1929–1995) was a German (formerly East German) dramatist, poet, writer, essayist and theatre director. Described as the theatre’s greatest living poet since Samuel Beckett, Müller is arguably the most important German dramatist of the 20th century after Bertolt Brecht. His enigmatic, fragmentary pieces are a significant contribution to postmodern drama and postdramatic theatre.


Voices: Duc Mai-The, Ulrikke Døvigen, Hermann Sabado, Selma Lindgren, Cornelia Fiedler, Robert Simon, Erik Dæhlin, Alvhild Dæhlin.

Norwegian translation: Finn Iunker
English translation: Dennis Redmond

Duration approx. 40 minutes

Thanks to: Finn Iunker, Frédéric Boudin, Notto Thelle, Asbjørn Flø, Cato Langnes, Per-Oskar Leu,
technician Svein Inge Nergaard, producer Morten Kippe, scenographer Christina Lindgren, Tom Wikne – Piano Verkstedet, Ljudia Grünerløkka, Ny Musikk and NOTAM.

Commissioned by NOTAM

Supported by Det Norske Komponist Fond and Arts Council Norway