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Per Nørgård

Publisher: Edition Wilhelm Hansen

Prelude to Breaking (1986)
Work Notes
Værket foreligger pr. 2010 i to versioner: oprindelig version (fl., klar., strygekvartet samt klaver, percussion), og en såkaldt Harpeversion (fl., klar., strygekvartet samt harpe). En mezzosopran kan (ad lib.) synge et fragment af komponistens ”Komposition” tekst af G.Ekelöf i slutningen af "Prelude to breaking" (indskrevet i partituet). Værket kan om-instrumenteres for et mindre ensemble med eller uden sopran-fragment tilknyttet), med gyldig hensyntagen til balancen, som fremhævet i komponistens partitur-forord); en sådan 'version' skal værket være uropført den 5/41986 i The Dome, Brighton (af Medway International Youth Symphony Orchestra dirigeret af Holger Arden). En mindre version af instrumentalværket, med titlen ”Forspil ved Havet” (for strygere og klaver, 1983), er siden tilbagetrukket af komponisten. Værket kan integreres i korstykket ”Komposition” (tekst af G.Ekelöf) fra korværket ”Tre hymniske ansatser” fra 1986 med den samlede titel ”Prelude to Breaking and to Composition” - korstykket opført umiddelbart efter instrumentalværket. Værket kan ligeledes sammenstilles med hele korværket ”3 Hymniske ansatser” - 1. Composition, 2.Strandvalmue, 3.Die Parke – korværket sunget umiddelbart efter instrumentalværket. ”Prelude to breaking” danner grundlag for korværkerne Regn Nat (1983/1989) og Jeg hører regnen (1983/1989, rev.1992).
Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen
Large Ensemble (7+ players)
Year Composed
9 Minutes
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Programme Note
Per Nørgård Prelude to Breaking (1986)
The title quotes a book on wave forms (Willard Bascom: ´Waves and Beaches´, 1980), characterizing the surf-effect as a multitude of ´sub whirls´ in harmonic speed to each other. When this synchronicity tops over in accelerations of the individual tempos it is called ´Prelude to Breaking´.

The bass-continuous melody is perceived by the composer as a manifestation of the surf-phenomenon at a beach in Cualam, Kerala (India). Each second a new front of impressive length - up to hundreds of meters - breaks almost simultaneously all along, the many together producing a sound as from hundreds of lions, out of which to my ear was heard firstly: a fundamental and all its overtones, secondly: a 14 beat bass-(or rather all registers encompassing) melody. The three other motives have other stories - but all, like the mentioned one - possessing a feature of ´objets trouvées´, of treasures found.

A mezzo soprano might ad lib. sing a fragment of the composer´s “Composition” (text by G. Ekelöf) in the coda of “Prelude to breaking” (notated in the score). The instrumental work might be played as a prelude to the choral song “Composition” (text by G. Ekelöf) with the title “Prelude to breaking – and to Composition”. Finally, the instrumental work might also be played as a prelude to the choral work “3 Hymniske Ansatser” (3 Hymnic Dispositions): 1.´Composition´, 2.´Strandvalmue´(´Beach Poppy´), 3.´Die Parke´(´The Parks´) – the choral work sung after “Prelude to breaking”.
Per Nørgård

Note: The last section (about the Mezzo soprano and the combination of pieces) might be used or not used, ad libitum.

Score preview

  • Ensemble
    Sonanza, Risberg
  • Ensemble
    Aarhus Sinfonietta
    Søren K. Hansen
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