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Arne Nordheim

Publisher: Edition Wilhelm Hansen

Aurora (1984)
Wilhelm Hansen
Chorus and Orchestra/Ensemble
Year Composed
21 Minutes
Hebrew, Italian, Latin

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Programme Note
Arne Nordheim Aurora (1984)
a self-generated sunrise

The basis of the title AURORA is to be found in the Psalm 139 and in the illuminating power which shines through the final song in Dante’s Divina Commedia. The linking of these texts became to me a bird of thoughts in free flight over the centuries which separate the authors, and which was suddenly alarmed by a commission by Electric Phoenix in an express letter from London. This ensemble, with its highly developed vocal technique which directly responded to the world of sound ideas in which I had so often moved in my electronic studio work, created a need within me to merge once again live situations with worked-out material from the same sources.

The fact that the text to Psalm 139 is split up into Latin and Hebrew gives me many sound possibilities within the same semantic spheres. The correlation between the sounds on tape and the living actions of the ensemble in the concert hall is mainly based on mutual reflection and generating. E.g. the whole of the middle part in AURORA is built upon some big and quite static vocal blocks. From these slow sound blocks, in a studio situation, I let the members of Electric Phoenix, together and separately, bring out melodic formulations. These melodic fragments I took with me to EMS (Electronic Music Studio in Stockholm) for merging, to longer and completely long lines which again the ensemble sing against in the concert hall.

Such situations of self-generating enclose both texts in AURORA, also where Dante, at the end of his wanderings, realizes the power which actually moves sun and stars: l’amor che move il sole e l’altre stele.

Arne Nordheim

  • Ensemble
    Grex Vocalis
    Randi Bjerge (soprano), Kristin Kjølberg (alto), Folke Bengtsson (tenor), Njål Sparbo (bass)
    Carl Høgset
  • Ensemble
    Electric Phoenix
    Norwegian Composers:
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