Skip to page content

Play Your Part, support the LA Phil.  Your belief in the power of music to heal and transform makes our work possible.   Give Now

{{title}}
{{text}}
${{ price.displayPrice }}
$
Give Now

Please select a donation amount.

About this Piece


Composed: 1979    
Length: c. 9 minutes

Please see “About the Artists,” P28, for a biography of composer/conductor Daníel Bjarnason.

Ek ken die nag (I Know the Night) was composed during the winter of 2013/14 for the Netherlands Chamber Choir and the Calefax reed quintet, and premiered in Utrecht in March 2014. The Afrikaans text is by the South African poet and journalist Elisabeth Eybers (1915-2007).

Bjarnason begins in quiet mystery, instruments and voices circling around the pitch “B” and groping for articulation. The text suggests the existential crisis of one who knows the night all too well, from inside out, and Bjarnason’s vocal writing alternates rhythmically unified lines with tight polyphony, emphasizing both the stress and the richness of this dark knowledge. At the end, the pervasive center on “B” is revealed as a sort of massively prolonged dominant preparation for the final line, a soft unison chant of “I know its inside” on “E.”