for violin and harp

Written: 2011
Duration: 15'
Instrumentation: violin and harp
Written for Clockwise: Marc Uys, violin and Jacqueline Kerrod, harp
PremiereClockwise, Harare International Festival of the Arts, Harare, Zimbabwe, AFRICA, April 30, 2011.
PublisherBill Holab Music

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Freya’s Tears is a companion or sister piece for another work I wrote entitled The Book of Goddesses, scored for flute, harp and percussion. Each of the movements is inspired by one of three goddesses: Iris, Freya, and Sekhmet.

In Greek mythology, Iris is the personification of the rainbow and messenger of the gods. She is said to have golden wings and is associated with communication, messages and new endeavors, and travels on rainbows while carrying messages from the gods to mortals. That image in particular provided inspiration for Iris.

The second movement, Freya’s Tears, is inspired by Freya (or Freyja), one of the major goddesses of Norse Paganism. She is often described as a goddess of love, beauty and fertility. She was also associated with war, death, wealth, prophecy and magic, as well as the reading of runes, trancing and casting spells. Her most treasured possession was the Brisings’ necklace, a golden necklace crafted by four dwarfs with such artistry that it glittered like a constellation of stars in the night sky. She was married to the God Od (or Odur) who mysteriously disappeared. When she could not find him, she wept tears of gold. The tears that hit trees turned to amber, or Freya’s Tears. I try to evoke these images in the violin and harp by using harmonics, glissandi and delicate arpeggios.

The final movement, Sekhmet, is inspired by the mythological warrior goddess Sekhmet of Upper Egypt. She is depicted as having a human body with a lioness’s head, and is the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians. She was viewed as the protector of the pharaohs and led them in warfare. It was also said that her breath created the desert.

The first and third movements call for an optional, specialized mute called the Kerrod mute. This mute muffles some of the strings during certain passages, creating a xylophone-like sound. It was invented and developed specifically for this piece by Jacqueline Kerrod and Marc Uys of Clockwise.

Freya’s Tears is written for and dedicated to Clockwise: Marc Uys violin and Jacqueline Kerrod, harp.

Press Quotes

Freya’s Tears is a companion work to The Book of Goddesses, introducing three further female deities, the Greek Iris, Norse Freyja and Egyptian Sekhmet. The ethnic element in the three movements of this work is slighter, or at least more generalized. Again, it does not need any programme to succeed as a tunefully attractive work.
— Rob Barnett, Music Web International
Freya’s Tears is a triptych building from pensive spaciousness, to mysterioso ripples, to echoes of a baroque minuet and then delicate Middle Eastern allusions... clearly, Paterson listens widely and has a passion for the global styles he’s so enthusiastically embraced. Play this loud and it becomes party music: play it softly and it makes for good late-night ambience.
— Alan Young, Lucid Culture
Paterson’s Freya’s Tears is intended as a sort of companion piece to The Book of Goddesses... Each section in this piece, too, has a certain ethnic or indigenous feel to it and I found it quite attractive!
— Daniel Coombs, Audiophile Audition
The viola and harp are especially poignant in the title movement, as Freya weeps tears of gold while searching for her lost husband.
— Kathy Parsons, Mainly Piano