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979-0-57036-732-0 Hällristningsområdet – Performing score Available at MusicRoom Buy now (£7.95)


I. Den sörjande kvinnan: The Grieving Woman

II. Tjugonio bollar: identifiera juggler tid: 29 Balls: identifying the juggler of time

III. Älskande rullande solen: Lovers rolling the sun

IV. Diskursiva relationer mellan skepp och fotsulor: Discursive relationship between ships and footsoles

The area of Tanumshede is situated on the south western coast of Sweden. Archaeologically, it is renowned for its unique series of Bronze Age rock carvings dating from between c. 1800 to 500 BCE. Incised into over 600 panels, the petroglyphs were originally situated along a 25 mile stretch of fjord coastline and as such there are many depictions of Hjortspring boats and seafaring activities. There are also scenes of hunting, agricultural and livestock farming and warring, with many armoured figures carrying swords, axes and shields. Whilst it is possible to interpret most carvings as images of quotidian life, the meaning of some panels is less clear. It is likely that several scenes depict ritual acts overseen by gods, often surrounded by abstract symbols - crosses, dots and ‘cups’, the significance of which is now unknown. As well as being a source of information about Scandinavian Bronze Age weapons, vehicles, tools, ships, even hairstyles, the carvings have also been the subject of debates about gender. The society depicted on the rocks seems overwhelmingly patriarchal, making the rare carvings of probable female figures particularly important. The most famous of these is known as The Grieving Woman, apparently weeping over a dead warrior from a ship. Her grief, ‘heavy as rocks’ is heard in the opening movement of the piece, echoing through the remaining movements and giving the work its dark, melancholy character. The Woman returns in the final movement as a ghost, her footsteps coming closer and closer as her ‘lover’s’ ship is rebuilt over and over again. Movement III is gentler in tone, a song for the Woman and her lover - depicted as a couple rolling a giant sun surrounded by farm animals. Movement II represents the enigmatic Juggler or Calendar Man who holds 29 spheres in his hand - perhaps juggling the fate of The Grieving Woman. Hällristningsområdet was written at the request of bassist Dan Styffe, resident in Norway but born in Sweden. (SH)



10 minutes
1 Double bass
Composition date


Postcards from Oslo Dan Styffe (double bass) 1st October 2017