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Per Nørgård

Publisher: Edition Wilhelm Hansen

Terrains Vagues (2000),
Work Notes
Composed as commission from BBC Uropførelse: Dato: 01-04-2001 Sted: Barbican Hall, London Orkester: BBC Symphony Orchestra Dirigent: Sir Andrew Davis
Publisher
Wilhelm Hansen
Category
Orchestra
Sub Category
Large Orchestra
Year Composed
2000
Duration
25 Minutes


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Programme Note
Per Nørgård Terrains Vagues (2000),
Per Nørgård
TERRAINS VAGUES
for orchestra
2000

Preface / Programme Note

A few of my works, for instance TWILIGHT (for orchestra, 1977), could be said to “jump” or “bolt” just before the ending; in the last minute or two a completely new music appears, breaking off the development, and indicating a wholly new perspective. Typical of this is my SYMPHONY NO. 6, which boasts several of these glimpses of new musics in the final minutes. The very last glimpse is of a music so different that the symphony momentarily turns “inside-out”. This short ending, or coda, with its multi-layered and heavily stomping music held captive my imagination to the extent that it became the starting point for my next endavour, the present work, TERRAINS VAGUES.

If the word symphonic means that the music has long-term development and hierachic sub- and super-orders – then my new worked is anything but: it is rather short-sighted, often out of breath, most of the time squinting back and forth between “now” and “next”.

I found the title when I heard the Danish poet Klaus Rifbjerg read his poem TERRAINS VAGUES, which starts like this (in the poet’s own translation):

There were wild oats
And the soil was black
But sparkled
When the sun was out
The air sharp in the nostrils
Hard to define
Somewhere between knife coal and
Acid and that special light and sweet
Whiteness thornbushes exhale.

It was nothing special
Because everything was special…

Apparently, it was French author Victor Hugo who coined the phrase terrains vagues, which roughly translates into “vague-areas”, meaning the border-areas between nature and civilization. In Hugo’s words: “trees vanish, roofs take over” and “the divine murmur of Nature is silenced, the noise of Mankind takes over”.

I broke up the term TERRAINS VAGUES in its separate components for the purpose of indicating three sections in the work: first TERRAINS (“areas”), secondly VAGUES (here pointing at the other meaning of the word, “waves”), thirdly TERRAINS VAGUES. The sections are not separated by breaks or rests, but rather by transitional passages of lesser activity, stagnant, vibrating orchestral sounds.

TERRAINS VAGUES was commissioned by the BBC Symphony Orchestra. It was premiered on 1 April 2001 by the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, at the Barbican Hall, London.

The first Danish performance took place on 27 September 2001, Thomas Dausgaard conducting the Danish National Radio Symphony Orchestra at the Danish Radio Concert Hall in Copenhagen.

The work is dedicated to Thomas Dausgaard.

Per Nørgård


  • Ensemble
    Danish National Symphony Orchestra
    Chandos:
Performances
Date
Title
Reviews
"…>Terrain vagues< der har taget sin titel fra et digt af Klaus Rifbjerg tog sit udgangspunkt i en skildring af - fra Per Nørgårds egen beskrivelse i programteksten - "mødet mellem det uopdyrkede land og civilationen: overgangen mellem natur og kultur". I den musikalske skildring af disse vagområder fandt strukturerne deres berettigelse i deres blotte tilstedeværelse, i instrumenternes effektfulde lydfrembringelser og i spillet mellem klanglige flader, der lagde sig i forlængelse af hinanden i forskydninger. Satsarbejdet var meget interessant med de tre deles spændingsladede forbindelse, hvor den heftige aktivitet i orkesteret - f.eks. de kradsende blæserlyde eller de tætte glissandi i strygerne - ophørte for en stund og efterlod et stilstandsmoment af udstrakt, liggende klang. Effekterne trængte sig på via et raffineret og detaljerigt partiturarbejde, og der var en uomtvistelig stædighed gemt i musikken, der gjorde, at lytteren blev holdt til ilden i kraft af det motorisk fremdrevne musikalske forløb…"
Mette Rothschild, Berlingske Tidende,9/30/2001
"…ved premieren i London i april 2001 blev musikken modtaget af en nogenlunde begejstret kritik. Her dækker nogenlunde ikke over ordet lunken, men sikkert snarere en overrumplethed. Hvilket man til fulde forstår, fordi musikken er så mættet med informationer, er så foruroligende i sin tone, at man suges ind i musikken og febrilsk forsøger at fokusere med øret, hitte rede i baggrundstikkeværket og forgrundsbulderet, for slet ikke at tale om alt, der finder sted mellem yderpunkterne…Men gennem den moderne musik klinger en skønhed, som først og fremmest bygger på en kompositorisk vlije til at instrumentere helt igennem originalt, så det samlede klangbillede næsten antager karakter af rummobile - det er faktisk ret spacet og meget filmmusik når ikke denne musik til sokkeholderne…Denne musik er ikke easy listening, men der er på den anden side heller ikke knastørre eksperimenter i en udforskningsproces. Musikken kalder alle omstændigheder på et genhør, ud fra spørgsmålet: Hvad filen var det egentlig, der skete ?"
Anders Beyer, Information,1/1/0001
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