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About Different Trains

What happens when numerous different works of art come together and make up something new? Different Trains is an example of this and an example of Pia Forsgren’s ability to move between and combine various art forms to a new and independent work – something that has made The Jewish Theatre a ground breaking stage for performance art.

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Different trains in "Seasons of culture"

Performed in Jerusalem 2011.

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Pia Forsgren - Direction, concept and set design

As director and artistic director at The Jewish Theatre for more than ten years, Pia Forsgren has directed several pioneering performances.

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 String musicians play from glass blisters stained blue by the ligh

The Fleshquartet Music and composition

The group members have developed an unmistakable sound, well aware of the interaction between voices and tones from instruments and the everyday world.

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Behind the scene

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About Reich

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About Different Trains

By Steve Reich

Direction, concept and set design Pia Forsgren

Music by The Fleshquartet

Glass design Ann Wåhlström

Lighting design Hans-Åke Sjöquist

Costume design Mikael T Zielinski

What happens when numerous different works of art come together and make up something new? DIFFERENT TRAINS is an example of this and an example of Pia Forsgren’s ability to move between and combine various art forms to a new and independent work – something that has made The Jewish Theatre a ground breaking stage for performance art.

The basic idea was the American composer Steve Reich’s DIFFERENT TRAINS, a piece in three connected movements written for a string quartet in which melodies are interspersed with recorded, authentic voices. Reich spent a lot of time in his childhood traveling by train between the American West and East coasts. Had he instead lived in Europe during this time, the early 40’s, he would have, being a Jew, travelled on entirely different trains.

Pia Forsgren made the bold choice to let the Fleshquartet perform DIFFERENT TRAINS. She also asked them to compose and perform a new piece – Tears Apart. At the same time she realized a long-cherished dream – to build a set design in glass. The design by artist Ann Wåhlström is ravishing and surrounds the audience as well as the musicians – open to all interpretations.

Steve Reich’s Different Trains

Steve Reich became a musical pioneer with the work Different Trains as he brought together acoustic music with digital sampling technology. Different Trains is based on Reich’s bright childhood memories of traveling by train between the U.S. West and East Coasts – juxtaposed on his thoughts about the children that during the same time travelled by train to the extermination camps in World War II Europe.
Steve Reich has had a strong influence on contemporary art music; the slow, repetitive rhythms, the phasing into different tempi, the shifts in canon. Different Trains was Steve Reich’s first work in which he “extracted” music from speech; he later developed this concept in The Cave and City Life.

Visit www.stevereich.com for more information about Steve Reich.

Download the 2008 program (pdf, 485 kB)
Download the 2011 program (pdf, 3,72 MB)

Ann Wåhlström – Glass Installation

Ann Wåhlström has studied glassblowing and design in Sweden at the Glass School in Orrefors and the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, and in the United States at the Pilchuck Glass School in Seattle and the Rhode Island School of Design. She says this has given her the best of two worlds: Swedish traditional craftsmanship and American artistic freedom.

Her first solo exhibition was held in 1985 at Gallery Nilsson/New Glass in New York, where she was “discovered” by Kosta Boda. This was the start of a twenty-year collaboration with the glassworks group, for which she has designed several series and acclaimed exhibitions, including Cyklon and Blue Snails – Green Seahorses. She has been awarded the Excellent Swedish Design Award on several occasions.

Since 2005, Ann Wåhlström has combined freelance assignments as an artist and designer with teaching at the Pilchuck Glass School and the Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm.

Pia Forsgren - Direction, Concept and set Design

Pia Forsgren studied stage directing at the Dramatic Institute in Stockholm, where she directed an acclaimed production of Hanjo, a modern Noh play by Mishima. From 1985 to 1996, she was a director at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, where she was responsible for no less than nineteen productions, including Hiroshima mon Amour by Marguerite Duras, Rappaccini’s Daughter by Octavio Paz and Nilen [The Nile], Traum [Dream] and Sal P [Ward P] by Katarina Frostenson. Her breakthrough came in 1988 with The Four Little Girls by Pablo Picasso.

As director and artistic director at The Jewish Theatre for more than ten years, Pia Forsgren has directed several pioneering performances, including Kristallvägen [Crystal Road] by Katarina Frostenson, Spoonface Steinberg by Lee Hall, and the opera Shadowtime by Charles Bernstein and Brian Ferneyhough. In the dance installation FURO she fused the choreographer Ohad Naharin of the Batsheva Dance Company with the video artist Tabaimo. Her most recent work was the acclaimed performance of Hundarna i Prag [The Dogs of Prague] by Marguerite Duras.

Pia Forsgren strives to merge art, technology and architecture, and to develop fresh new physical/technical potential for future stage performances. Her interest in contemporary cultural expressions and her strong inclination for experimentation and exploration of the theatrical space have been manifested in several highly renowned productions.

Hans-Åke Sjöquist - Lighting Design

Hans-Åke Sjöquist studied at the Yale School of Drama in the United States. After working as lighting director at the Royal Opera in Stockholm, he embarked on an international career as a lighting designer in 1986. Since then, he has been involved in productions for major opera houses all over the world, including Athens, Berlin, Chicago, Geneva, London, Milan, and Paris.

At the Royal Opera in Stockholm Hans-Åke Sjöquist has worked on more than 50 productions, together with artists such as Ingmar Bergman. He has also designed lighting for Rudolf Nureyev.

His other assignments include numerous dramatic and musical productions for leading theaters throughout Scandinavia: Tre Kronor at Dramaten in Stockholm, Falstaff at the Royal Opera in Stockholm, and The Marriage of Figaro and Eugen Onegin at the Gothenburg Opera. After Different Trains, Hans-Åke Sjöquist will be moving on to London and the English National Opera, where he will design the lighting for a production of The Elixir of Love.

The Fleshquartet - Music and Composition

The Fleshquartet was formed in 1985 and is rooted in baroque, classical, rock, world, and modern art music. The group members have developed an unmistakable sound, well aware of the interaction between voices and tones from instruments and the everyday world.

Their music is a tapestry of ethereal, transparent tones that blend readily with hard-as-nails timbres and rhythms. With masterful ease, the Fleshquartet seamlessly melds rigorously repetitive and seductively rhythmic motifs with gently melancholic harmonies and melodies.

The Fleshquartet has been active for 25 years, and has produced 12 solo albums. They have also collaborated with a great variety of artists, including Elvis Costello, Moondog, Robyn, Stina Nordenstam, Titiyo, Joakim Thåström, Freddie Wadling, and Tim Wolde. They have composed music for stage and film, commissioned by directors Suzanne Osten and Stefan Jarl, and have been involved in countless projects for the stage over the years, including Lars Rudolfsson’s Bageriet [The Bakery] at Orionteatern and Mats Ek’s dance productions for the Cullberg Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov and the Opera in Paris. In 2007 they released the album Voices of Eden.

Mikael T. Zielinski – Costume Design

Mikael T. Zielinski has a Master’s Degree in Architecture from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. Following a period as an architect in Geneva, he moved to New York where he worked as an Art Director and Creative Director for over 20 years.

He worked for, among others, American Vogue, Elizabeth Arden, Liz Claiborne and Mattel (Barbie), as well as taking on many freelance projects. His assignments include editorial and commercial graphic design, costume design for the stage, and various product designs. Zielinski has also curated and designed exhibitions, notably one exhibit at the American Craft Museum in New York featuring glass artist Bertil Vallien (Kosta Boda).

In 2008 Mikael showed his own first solo art exhibit 25 New Years, Cards From The Past – Cards From The Future at Gallery Pascale, Stockholm.

Mikael T. Zielinski has designed the costumes for several productions at The Jewish Theatre, including Yom Kippur (1998), Ashes to Ashes (1999), Kristallvägen [Crystal Road] (2002), Shadowtime (2006), and The Dogs of Prague (2007).

Participants in Different Trains

Different Trains by Steve Reich
With the Fleshquartet
The Jewish Theatre Stockholm

Tears Apart by
The Fleshquartet

Mattias Helldén

Örjan Högberg

Sampled violin
Christian Olsson

Sebastian Öberg

Pre-recorded material from Steve Reich’s Different Trains performed by
The Kronos Quartet
(Nonesuch Records 79176-2)

Direction, concept and set design
Pia Forsgren

Glass installation
Ann Wåhlström

Lighting design
Hans-Åke Sjöquist

Costume design
Mikael T. Zielinski

Sound design
Oskar Johansson

Projection editing
Johan Edström

Stage design consultant
Lawrence Jasse

Programmer and operator
Eric Holmberg

William Egnell

Chatrin Melander and Madeleine Eriksson

Graphic design
Anders Wester and Fredrik Axell

Performance photo
Jonas Lindström

Projection photo Siri Isgren
Excerpts from films Prelinger Archives

Glass production
Kavalier, Czech Republic
Podium Lars Jonzon Snickare


Costume fabrics

Music agents
Gehrmans Musikförlag and Boosey & Hawkes

Elisabeth Secher Svenstedt

Glass movements – a conversation with Ann Wåhlström

By Tom Hedqvist

The first time I saw your work was in 1982 at an exhibition at the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm, which you attended after your studies in the United States. I particularly recall a number of geometric vases in black and different colors, based on conical forms. They impressed me with their precision and restraint – not exactly the studio glass we were used to seeing in Sweden in the 1980s. Since then, I have followed your work closely, both your product design at the Kosta Boda glassworks and, in more recent years, the glass objects you have produced in the United States.

We now find ourselves at The Jewish Theatre, in the setting for Different Trains, a staged concert based on the music and texts of Steve Reich. You contribute a scenographic glass installation that encompasses the room.

Tom Hedqvist: Have you worked with stage design before?

Ann Wåhlström: No, never. This is an entirely new departure for me – using glass to create a room. I am accustomed to shapes and objects, but this has been a journey I could never have imagined.

Hedqvist: How did you come to receive this commission?

Wåhlström: Pia Forsgren saw my retrospective Cyklon at Sweden’s Museum of Glass in Växjö in 1999, where I showed a series of large drop-shaped objects I called Soapbubbles. Since then, she has been eager to find an opportunity to work with glass and light in a scenographic context at The Jewish Theatre. It’s been a couple of years since she first contacted me about this particular project.

Hedqvist: How much did director Pia Forsgren tell you about the material?

Wåhlström: We met and Pia told me about her idea. She wanted to begin with the space, setting no prior conditions whatsoever, and seeing where the process took us. She imagined a room in which the audience would be surrounded by glass – like bodies. I took this concept with me when I visited the Czech Republic to look for glass factories to collaborate with. Among the places I visited was Sàzava, where the company Kavalier is located. I was introduced by Charlie Parriott, one of my contacts from the glass community in Seattle. Kavalier specializes in laboratory glass and I immediately saw interesting potential.

I began to make some sketches and returned with Pia and producer Elisabeth Secher Svenstedt from The Jewish Theatre to show them my ideas. The same evening, I spent some time with a few of Kavalier’s glass blowers. The factory has nine large continuous feed glass furnaces, so the size is immense. One corner of the factory is set aside for manual production of smaller series and it was there we began to experiment, entirely by hand, with glass shapes so large they almost burst. I managed to get the glass blowers to stop the process at precisely the right moment.

Hedqvist: How did you proceed with the glass in the performance space itself?

Wåhlström: When the samples eventually arrived from the Czech Republic, we began to feel our way by hanging the pieces in different ways in the space. We tried these arrangements with different lighting solutions and then decided to move on. Pia gave me total freedom and advanced the process almost imperceptibly after having initially sown just a few but very vigorous seeds.

Hedqvist: Of how much glass does the installation consist?

Wåhlström: In total there are nearly 90 objects of different sizes arranged in groups encompassing the musicians and the audience. Some are hanging and quite large in volume while others, somewhat smaller, are arranged lying. They are clear, sandblasted or silver foiled.

It is an extensive and complicated arrangement with specially designed lighting units and a rich palette of colors, digitally controlled. Each body of glass has been lit individually by lighting designer Hans-Åke Sjöquist in symbiosis with the music. The arrangement of the audience and the musicians in the room is also crucial to the total experience. Having the opportunity to work with a lighting designer and thereby being able to see and control the transformation of the glass opened up a whole new world!

Hedqvist: What about Steve Reich and Different Trains?

Wåhlström: When Pia presented her vision of combining Steve Reich’s music with a glass installation and lighting into a creative multimedia piece, we entered a new phase.
I was not familiar with Different Trains, and at first I couldn’t “hear” my glass in the work. Eventually, however, I started to feel that I could rest in the abstraction. In the glass and the light and the music….

The projection of the texts, “Before, during and after the war,” which are read out by Reich’s nanny and others, were not brought into the space until a later point in time.

Hedqvist: You spent a long time working within the art industry at Kosta Boda. How was this project different?

Wåhlström: Over the years I have, of course, become accustomed to meeting expectations in the form of products designed with sales and financial figures constantly in mind. In industry, the freedom you have as a designer is actually very restricted. With this project, I felt completely free. I had the opportunity to learn, to take my time and to find totally new artistic possibilities in glass. The project has given me an entirely new experience and I’m far from finished with that wonderful Kavalier factory.

Stockholm, September 2008
Translated from Swedish by Bryan Mosey

Tom Hedqvist was born in 1948 and is a Designer. He has been active in the group Ten Swedish Designers since 1970. In the 1990s he was Director at Orrefors/Kosta Boda. He was appointed Professor of Graphic Design at Konstfack, the Swedish University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in 1994. Since 2000 he has been Principal of the Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm.

Different trains in “Seasons of culture”

Tower of David, Jerusalem
June 2011

When DIFFERENT TRAINS premiered at The Tower of David in Jerusalem on June 30 2011 – it was as an international guest performance in the newly established Cultural Festival Jerusalem Season of Culture (JSOC) – a major cultural project with the ambition to highlight and celebrate the city’s artists and rich cultural life.

DIFFERENT TRAINS performed in the Kishle (an ancient Turkish prison) at the Tower of David Museum as part of the Jerusalem Season of Culture 2011.

About Reich

“The music melds with the glass”

Review from Svenska Dagbladet
September 30, 2008

Bubbling — Fläskkvartetten interpret Steve Reich surrounded by glass

CRYSTALLINE Performance, art installation or concert? When Fläskkvartetten interpret Steve Reich in Ann Wåhlström’s set design of glass bubbles at The Jewish Theatre, genres are confounded. Staged for the first time in a theater, “Different Trains” opens on Saturday, directed by Pia Forsgren.

Chance toys with our lives. Composer Steve Reich has been fascinated by trains ever since he journeyed as a child between one parent in New York and one in Los Angeles, accompanied by his nanny. This was during the second world war, and had he been living in Europe at the time, his Jewish background would probably have led him to travel down much more sinister tracks.

Thus was born the idea for “Different Trains”, Reich’s minimalist and hypnotic work from 1988, which has become emblematic of this contemporary master of repetitive rhythms. The piece is now being staged in a theater for the first time. And The Jewish Theatre’s artistic director, Pia Forsgren, appears to have put together her dream team for the event: the virtuoso string players of Fläskkvartetten and the glass artist, Ann Wåhlström.

The light shifts between cold and warm shades and reinforces the perception of the 90 or so teardrop-shaped glass sculptures suspended in the house. Fläskkvartetten, seated in a circle in the middle, slowly heighten the atmosphere. Grainy film clips and stills of trains are projected on a back wall, while Reich’s recorded voices from America and Germany propel the story forward.

“I’ve tried to make Steve Reich’s various train images concrete, and help the audience follow his story. The unusual and interesting thing about ‘Different Trains’ is that he has sampled three string quartets over each other and then put recorded voices on top of that. Reich was quite revolutionary,” says Pia Forsgren when we come back out into the sunlight after a brief rehearsal.

“Different Trains” is divided into three parts: America – before the war; Europe – during the war; and After the war. The 27-minute piece, originally written for the American Kronos Quartet, is followed by Fläskkvartetten’s own newly written piece “Tears Apart”.

In charge of direction, concept and set design, Pia Forsgren has been a little like the performance’s packaging artist.

“I have long wanted to work with Ann Wåhlström and design a space out of glass in some form. But I needed a story to tell inside the glass. I listen a lot to Steve Reich, and when I chose ‘Different Trains’ I turned to Fläskkvartetten because I wanted musicians with their own personal expression. And then I wanted to stir up a bit of trouble with Reich.”

Stir up a bit of trouble – so that it didn’t turn out too ascetic and esthetic?

“No, it was more to make it work scenically, so that it’d be interesting to sit here for an hour and partake of it. The piece is exciting, as is the story – which is such an obvious choice for this theater. I want to try and make Stockholmers feel something. As you know there’s a term that says that Swedes are peace-shocked,” says Pia Forsgren, who refers to the performance simply as a staged concert.

When the Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin was invited to The Jewish Theatre two years ago to create a piece called “Furo” together with a Japanese video artist, it was described as a dance installation. But what we have in “Different Trains” is a completely new genre, argues Pia Forsgren and points to the pulse as a common denominator in all art forms. So why not call it “pulse theater”, she suggests.

“Or a glazed-in Fläskkvartett,” laughs violinist Örjan Högberg and continues:

“In Sweden we’re a little behind when it comes to genres. I imagine the commedia dell’arte tradition is the basis for how dramatic and scenic art are viewed in the Latin world. When I was in Barcelona it struck me that we Swedes are real woolly outdoor types. We sort of step out of the woods and look around.”

Speaking about the theme in “Different Trains”, cellist Sebastian Öberg points out that it’s a musical balancing act. The music must be strong enough to create its own images and associations in the listener.

“I hope it’s the same thing with our music. Sure, this is our temperament and our sound. But we also discovered when we began rehearsing that the music can represent itself, that it’s enough if we play it as well as we can in our way,” he says. Öberg is also the quartet member who has listened most to minimalist composers such as Steve Reich and Terry Riley.

This is actually the first time Fläskkvartetten is interpreting someone else’s music on stage. In the performance, “Different Trains” will be almost seamlessly followed by the quartet’s own new composition “Tears Apart” – which is still under construction one week before the opening.

“Sometimes we can feel a bit stuck in our form. So this is a great and liberating opportunity to step outside of our usual concert form of songs and sometimes accompanying singers, and only work from silences – but hopefully still with what we’re good at: getting a swing going. It’s not just about going ‘pling’ and then waiting five minutes,” Sebastian Öberg says.

In “Tears Apart”, Fläskkvartetten also make hands-on musical use of the glass. It’s a strange, amazing space to play in, they say.

“Sitting there completely enclosed creates a very special atmosphere. In all this light there’s also an incredible sense of consideration for Fläskkvartetten. We feel embraced,” says Örjan Högberg with a broad smile.

The sculptures are made of hand-blown laboratory glass that Ann Wåhlström had manufactured in a factory south of Prague.

“I set out from Pia’s and my early conversations about how she wanted the glass to be close to the audience. Then I hung around the space and tried to find a rhythm. And finally I made the glass pieces so big that they almost became like the bodies Pia had been hoping for,“ she explains.

Ann Wåhlström has long been a fan of Fläskkvartetten, but has not previously worked so directly and concretely with a production.

“It’s been a wonderful challenge. For me it is really a new step in my development to work in spatial terms. Sure I’ve done a lot of exhibitions, but never in this way – an installation intended to put people in a state of mind.”

By Lars Collin

FACTS: Different Trains

Written in 1988 by the American composer Steve Reich, born 1936 in New York and raised in Los Angeles. He made his debut in 1965 with “It’s gonna rain”, when he first began experimenting with recorded voices. Last year Steve Reich was awarded the Polar Prize and more recently he was elected a member of the Swedish Royal Academy of Music.

“Different Trains” opens on Saturday October 4th at The Jewish Theatre, on Djurgårdsbrunnsvägen 59 in Stockholm. The performance will be repeated on weekends in October and November, after which it will go on tour – to the recently opened Jewish Museum in San Francisco, among other venues.

“Fragile tunes”

Article from Dagens Nyheter
September 29, 2008

“Suggestive rhythms to move you”

Review from Svenska Dagbladet
October 5, 2008

Different Trains presents a variation on the existential theme that plagues so many survivors of catastrophes - why me? For Steve Reich, it was a question of shuttling back and forth across the American continent between the embraces of his parents while Jewish children in Europe travelled by train right into the arms of death. Different Trains (1988) is thus an autobiographical research project that, at the Jewish Theatre, becomes inseparable from Ann Wåhlström’s crystal installation in an atmospheric multimedia performance painted by Pia Forsgren.

Large crystal drops hang from the ceiling, human souls refracting the light like glowing fruit or lying on the floor like curled up children. In their midst sits The Fleshquartet with its electronic score, the faces of its members starkly lit. Sampled violin replaces one electric violin part while the five-string instruments explore extreme positions. And although the performance rounds off with The Fleshquartet’s response to Reich’s composition, the emphasis of the evening is on the first half.

In Different Trains, Reich has used train rhythm, the signature of his compositions, while trains also represent a modernist archetype. The optimistic exclamations of the introduction and the train whistle are reflected in documentary footage and colourful crystal balloons, which subsequently lose their colour. The accelerating rhythm dictates the conditions of the intermezzo’s memory fragments from the trains that transported prisoners to the Nazi death camps. Stroboscopic lights and grainy archive images follow the heated intonation in a malicious quotation - a school teacher’s glib anti-Semitic statements that, in Forsgren’s montage, point the way directly into the gas chambers.

When the colour of the crystal has dimmed and the echo of a girl’s song in the camp has faded, the tension is relieved as we see the members of The Fleshquartet touch the crystal in their own piece, Tears Apart. This composition is more episodic, whims associated with exploring the possibilities of the crystal - the scale of harmony when a wine glass is moistened, the gurgling of glass marbles being rolled around inside hard laboratory glassware. The modal folk song loop that emerges as the ensemble returns to its normal instruments feels a little banal prior to the signalling of the rapid finale with a brutal attack on the silent bodies.

By Sofia Nyblom

“Musical traces of tears and crystal”

Review from Aftonbladet
October 6, 2008

It is with almost epileptic enthusiasm that Örjan Högberg attacks his viola in The Fleshquartet’s musical comment “Tears Apart”, a fourth movement appended to Steve Reich’s piece “Different Trains” from 1988. The ambiguity of the title (“except crying” or “ripping asunder”) appears to seek to criticise Reich’s minimalist, mathematically constructed opus on two types of train journey.

Reich recalls his childhood train journeys between the US metropoles of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. At the same time, on the other side of the Atlantic, Jews were being sent to concentration camps on other trains. Electronically distorted voices pose the interwoven lines of the first movement, “from Chicago to New York” and “the best train from New York” against the witness accounts of the two later movements in which survivors’ voices describe cattle wagons, smoking chimneys and numbers tattooed on forearms.

Ann Wåhlström’s meter-long crystal drops hang from the ceiling or lie on the floor between the audience, which is spread on all four sides. On two walls, we also see images projected. American trains quietly traversing bridges, freight wagons at Polish stations. In the centre, The Fleshquartet wears striped suits reminiscent of both camp inmates and train conductors.

The stage setting is beautiful, cool and austere - a sorrowful companion to Reich’s precise musical scenes. Perhaps this is why The Fleshquartet is unable to remain on stage in “Tears Apart”, instead climbing down to strike music from the large crystal tears of the scenography, ripping apart Reich’s overly structured notation and allowing the world to break in as pure exhilarated music.

This is when the performance becomes interesting, not only musically, but as a type of dialogue on what can be played following Auschwitz. Songs of sorrow are not always the sole possibility - sometimes, more progress is made through artistic interplay.

By Claes Wahlin

“Different Trains / The Jewish Theatre”

By Steve Reich
Pia Forsgren
The Fleshquartet
The Jewish Theatre
Stockholm, 30/11

American minimalist Steve Reich’s parents were divorced. From an early age, he travelled by train with his governess over the long distance between his mother in Los Angeles and his father in New York. While he was being rocked by the pulsating sound of the wheels on the track, other Jews, on the other side of the Atlantic, were being transported like cattle on other trains towards final destinations.

In his piece, Different Trains (1988), Steve Reich sorrowfully and suggestively portrays these different fateful journeys in sound. Personally, Reich feels it was the rhythmic train sounds that formed his musicality. You can hear it. Not only here.

Reich has gathered sounds and voices from archives and allows these to be swept away into the string instruments, like echoes and rings on water. Linguistic melodies are translated into string phrases. Train whistles shriek right into the electronically enhanced instruments.

The Fleshquartet is placed as if on an island in the centre of the Jewish Theatre’s Black Box, surrounded by Ann Wåhlström’s large crystal drops, illuminated by Hans-Åke Sjöquist’s lighting design. The scenography shifts between embers and soot, heaven and hell, hope and despair. On the walls at the ends of the room, documentary footage is projected at a subdued level. When Different Trains fades out after half an hour, The Fleshquartet continues with a composition of its own, Tears Apart, during which the large crystal tears are utilised in an innovative way. The music is a palette of The Fleshquartet’s range of sounds that can shift between a purring kitten and a raging tiger in three seconds.

Put briefly: if you have the chance, don’t miss the train to the Jewish Theatre.

By Gunilla Brodrej

“Different Trains” at the Jewish Theatre, Stockholm

Review from Dagens Nyheter
October 6, 2008

Sitting among dangling bunches of crystal drops undeniably invokes a special feeling. When The Fleshquartet tackles American minimalist Steve Reich’s “Different Trains” amidst an installation of crystal art by Ann Wåhlström, the outcome is a reflection, as beautiful as it is captivating, on the war years viewed from a train.

“Different trains” (1988) is about the composer’s own childhood journeys between the west and east coasts of the US at the same time as Jews in Europe were being transported to concentration camps.

This three-movement piece for string quartet was also the first in which Reich used recorded speech, including recordings of Holocaust survivors, to create melodic figures - a technique he later developed in pieces such as “City Life”.

Music journalist Alex Ross has described “Different Trains” as the music of tears and precision and Pia Forsgren’s staging is restrained.

Instead, she has elected to bring into focus the inherent power of the piece. The fragmentary text is projected onto the background, together with black and white images of railways. As the voices are separated, the words also become accentuated with the intonation of the music and, since The Fleshquartet is without a violinist, percussionist Christian Olsson steps in with sampled violin.

Their newly written piece “Tears Apart” is intended to act as a fourth movement and a comment on “Different Trains”. However, with its foundation in swirling harmonics and bell-like tones, where sampled glass smashing and rock excesses suddenly interrupt languorous string melodies, this is perhaps music that provokes shock rather than reflection with its increasingly fierce tug-of-war between various forms of expression.

By Johanna Paulsson

“Glassdrops at the theatre”

Review from tidningen Glas

“A moving piece”

Article in The Jerusalem Post
July 8, 2011

Gallery from Different Trains

Gallery from Different Trains

Gallery from Different Trains

Gallery from Different Trains

Gallery from Different Trains

Gallery from Different Trains

Gallery from Different Trains

Gallery from Different Trains

Gallery from Different Trains

Gallery from Different Trains

Gallery from Different Trains

Gallery from Different Trains

Gallery from Different Trains

Gallery from Different Trains

Gallery from Different Trains

Gallery from Different Trains

Gallery from Different Trains

Gallery from Different Trains

Gallery from Different Trains

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Gallery from Different Trains

Artistic design for Different Trains by Anders Wester

Artistic design for Different Trains by Anders Wester

Artistic design for Different Trains by Anders Wester

Artistic design for Different Trains by Anders Wester

Artistic design for Different Trains by Anders Wester

Artistic design for Different Trains by Anders Wester

Artistic design for Different Trains by Anders Wester

Artistic design for Different Trains by Anders Wester

Artistic design for Different Trains by Anders Wester

Artistic design for Different Trains by Anders Wester

Artistic design for Different Trains by Anders Wester

Artistic design for Different Trains by Anders Wester

Artistic design for Different Trains by Anders Wester

Behind the scene from Different Trains

Glas av Anna Wåhlström

Behind the scene from Different Trains

Glas av Anna Wåhlström

Behind the scene from Different Trains

Behind the scene from Different Trains

Behind the scene from Different Trains

Behind the scene from Different Trains

Behind the scene from Different Trains

Behind the scene from Different Trains

Behind the scene from Different Trains

Behind the scene from Different Trains

Behind the scene from Different Trains

Behind the scene from Different Trains