Variationer søger et tema (Quaerendo invenietis) (1991)
Variations in search of a theme
With a paraphrase of Pirandello´s ´Six Characters in Search of an Author´, I tried in the subtitle to characterize the special form of this duo for cello and guitar: a two-part, melodically constant, ambiguous movement from vaguer melodic profiles towards something relatively clear, which may be regarded as the theme that is the source of all that went before; ´relatively clear´ because the constant ambiguity, even at the end, leaves two themes in the mind. (Analytically speaking, this is based on a combination of seven-note and five-note motifs which complement each other, forming twelve tones with ascending and descending scale fragments ´avoiding each other´).
Each of the two instruments take its turn in creating the foreground, stressed (without any great difference in the melodic motifs), leading the other to be perceived as accompanying because it is subtly relegated to the background – not unlike the famous figure-ground picture in Gestalt psychology, which is perceived in one instant as a black vase, and in the next as two white profiles. However, this is composed music, not psychological exercises, and the spannin arch of the form ensures that the critical passages are clearly proportioned between cello and guitar. But the complementary emphases of the two instruments tend to create a kind of ´aural puzzle picture´(with time – not the two-dimensional surface – as the medium).
Per Nørgård (1995)