METAMORFOSI Opus 4 (1954) – for strings
(The Introduction - “The spectrum………five fingers..” to be used ad lib):
The spectrum of sound, the gesticulation – in short, the very nature of the strings – has always had a central place in my output, demonstrated by the numbers of string quartets, concertos with string soloist, chamber and solo works. The interest dates back to my school years, when I was fortunate to be able to compose for a cello-playing schoolmate and to accompy him on the piano. I discovered then the innumerable nuances of sound and playing varieties offered by just one bow, four strings and five fingers.
"Metamorfosis" deals with just one metamorfosis, slowly changing the introductory motifs, instead of a set of variation-like, minor movements (As is the case for example with Hindemith´s “Symphonic Metamorphoses on a Theme by Weber”): the thematic ´core´ consists of an energetic, upward-striving figue (a minor second, a fifth, a minor second, a major second..), a motif that is varied in different ways, not unlike the classical sonata´s development section, leading always to more intensified culminations of dynamics, speed and density. The last climax, though, is followed by a strongly contrasting section of peaceful simplicity – seemingly a second movement directly connected to the former one, but in reality consisting of the original slowly modified motifs now suggesting a radically changed unity, a new atmosphere. A metamorphosis is completed..
Per Nørgård (1999)