CONSTELLATIONS for 12 solo strings, op 22 (1958)
A scarlet thread is perceptible in my compositions through almost 50 years, in spite of the changes (sometimes quite sudden) marking my development as a composer. This ´thread´ naturally cannot be expressed in words, but it has something to do with ambiguity and interference.
In Constellations from 1958 I chose to deviate from the normal division of the string orchestra into 5 groups (violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello, bass) and distribute the music for each of the 12 musicians separately. The rich differentiation made possible by this choice is expressed in the title, Constellations, which is not meant as a metaphor for the (more or less) static constellations of stars or parties, but as dynamics of a ´constant inner change of relations between individual beings´, e.g. motifs.
The listener is intended to perceive not the complex relations, but a shifting carpet of more or less pregnant motifs in constantly new metrical constellations.
My occupation with interference, not only metrical and (later) acoustical but also in all other musical contexts, can be traced back to my earliest efforts as a composer.
I believe that this drive towards ambiguity is connected to my repulsion, from earliest childhood, of any ´fundamentalism´.
Maybe this is why my music always speaks with many voices.
Apart from this, I believe the work can be enjoyed as a straightforward ´concerto grosso´ without many problems for the listener.
CONSTELLATIONS is dedicated to Lamberto Gardelli who conducted the premiere with the Pro Music Chamber Orchestra (November 1958).
Per Nørgård, 1998