PASTORALE – from ”Babette´s feast” (1987)
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 accompany 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..
Pastorale was originally composed in 1987 for string trio (a string orchestra arrangement was made in 1988). The music has a lyrical mood and a melodic simplicity, due to its origin: it is part of the music for “Babettes feast”, the film (by Gabriel Axel) based on Karen Blixen´s story of two sisters who are members of a very puritan congregation. Under the song-like surface, though, the metrical implications are rather ambiguous. The changes between stressed and unstressed beats forces the ears to perceive a phrase as being on the beat at one moment and off the beat at the next. In this way, the simple lines of innocent pastoral serenity conjure the listener to be lulled into an artificial Paradise which is exactly the mood at the banquet in the central scene of the movie, the Feast itself, miraculously saturated with eartly delights – normally unthinkable for a narrow congregation for from the Big World.
Per Nørgård (1999)
(The Introduction - from “The spectrum..." to "five fingers..” - to be used ad lib.)