Folke Rabe

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Folke Rabe (born 28 October 1935 in Stockholm, Sweden) is a Swedish composer. Works include the electronic drone pieces What?? (also translated as "Was??") (1968), Basta for solo trombone (1982), Escalations for brass quintet (1988), Concerto for trombone: "All the Lonely People" (1989) featuring quotes from The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby", and With Love No. 1 and 2 for piano (1988).

According to Robert Erickson (1975, p. 95) What?? contains "no obvious discrete changes" and "no sharply defined sections". The piece uses several drone pitches, though they are presented at a time scale where pitch change is "hardly noticed." Interference beats are highlighted (as the only apparent rhythm) and, as "an elegant touch," the microtonal pitches that produce those beats "are worked into a larger pattern of pitch relations". "All possible timbral dimensions are manipulated: spectral envelope, including harmonic and inharmonic partials; time envelope phenomena, such as beats and tremolo; micropitch changes, both fast and slow. Transformations between pitch (with timbre) → chord, chord → 'a sound', 'a sound' → pitch (with timbre) abound."


Orchestral music[edit]

  • Hep-Hep for symphony orchestra (1966)
  • All the Lonely People..., concert for trombone and chamber orchestra (1990)
  • Naturen, flocken och släkten (”Nature, Herd and Relatives”), concert for French horn and string orchestra (1991)
  • Sardine Sarcophagus, concert for trumpet and sinfonietta (1995)
  • Så att denna sång inte dör (”So That this Song Will Not Die”) for symphony orchestra (1998)
  • L'Assiuolo caprese, concert for brass quintet and orchestra (2002)

Works for band[edit]

  • Henry IV (1964)
  • Altiplano (1982)

Works for radio[edit]

Choral works[edit]

  • 7 poems by Nils Ferlin for mixed chorus (1958)
  • Pièce for speaking chorus, with Lasse O'Månsson (1961)
  • Rondes for mixed chorus (also a version for male chorus) (1964)
  • OD for male chorus (1965)
  • Joe's Harp for mixed chorus (1970)
  • Två strofer (Two Stanzas””) for mixed chorus, text by Göran Sonnevi (1980)
  • to love for mixed chorus, text by E.E. Cummings (1984)
  • Hövisk pålslagarmadrigal for OD, 150 (”Courteous Piledrivers' Madrigal for O.D., 150”) for male chorus (2003)

Vocal music[edit]

  • Havets hand 1 and 2 for voice and piano, text by Elmer Diktonius (1958)
  • Notturno for mezzo-soprano, flute, oboe and clarinet, text by Edith Södergran (1959)
  • Två sånger till Rune Lindström på Svenska Flaggans Dag (”Two Songs for Rune Lindström on the Day of the Swedish Flag”) for voice and piano, text by the composer (1964–65)
  • SJU 7 – Lättjan (”SEVEN 7 – The Laziness”) for tenor solo, mixed chorus, 3 percussionists and string quartet, text by Carl Jonas Love Almqvist (2005)

Chamber music[edit]

  • Suite for two clarinets (1957)
  • Divertimento for Solo Clarinet (1958)
  • Bolos for 4 trombones, with Jan Bark (1962)
  • Impromptu for clarinet/bass clarinet, trombone, cello, piano and percussion (1962)
  • Souvenirs for speaker, hammond organ and rhythm group (1963)
  • Pajazzo for 8 jazz musicians (1964)
  • Polonaise for 4 trombones, lighting & movement, with Jan Bark (1966)
  • Basta for solo trombone (1982)
  • Shazam for trumpet solo (1984)
  • Escalations for brass quintet (1988)
  • Tintomara for trumpet and trombone (1992)
  • Jawbone Five for trombone and 6 percussionists (1996)
  • A Chaser for flute, violin, cello and piano (2004)

Music for organ[edit]

  • Sebastian (2001)

Music for piano[edit]

  • 7 Variations for Piano (1957–60)
  • With Love (1984)

Film music[edit]

  • Mannen som övergav bilar (”The Man Who Abandoned Cars”), with Ken Dewey (1963–66)
  • På månen blåser ingen hambo (”No Hambones on the Moon”), with The Culture Quartet (1971)
  • Pank (”Broke”) for trombones and keyboards, with Olle Eriksson (1980)

Electronic music[edit]

  • ARGH!, electroacoustic music (1965)
  • Va?? Was?? What??, electroacoustic music (1967)
  • To the Barbender, electroacoustic music (1982)
  • Narrskeppet (”Ship of Fools”), intermedia performance (1983)
  • Cyclone, electroacoustic music (1985)
  • Älskade lilla gris (”Beloved Little Pig”) for narrator, electroacoustic music and slide projections, text by Ulf Nilsson (1986)
  • Världsmuséet (”World Museum”), indermedia performance, with The New Culture Quartet (1987)
  • Narragonien (”Narragonia”), indermedia performance, with The New Culture Quartet (1990)
  • Swinee River, electroacoustic music (2005)

Selected discography[edit]

  • What?? (1997, Dexter's Cigar 12). Reissued with an added half-speed version, formerly on Wergo.


  • Erickson, Robert (1975). Sound Structure in Music. University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-02376-5.

External links[edit]