Per Nørgård

PerNørgård.Helle Rahbæk copyPer Nørgård
Gennem Torne
Canadian premiere: May 24, 2009
US premiere: June 6, 2011 New York City
Swedish premiere: May 29, 2011 Malmo
Aventa Ensemble w/ Maria Boelskov Sørensen, harp

Per Nørgård (b. 1932) is one of the most original artists in the cultural life of Denmark. His work and efforts as composer, teacher, and theorist through almost half a century has had an enormous significance to the development of contemporary Danish art music. Nørgård has written works in all categories, for amateurs as well as for professionals: from large-scale operas to modest hymns, from simple movements to imposing edifices.

Per Nørgård’s art constantly creates the vision that the potential of music is far greater than we think. Conductor Sergiu Celibidache once precisely expressed the potential of Nørgård’s large-scale, faultless creation: Only the mind of a new time in the new millennium will be able to understand the scope of Nørgård’s music.

Per Nørgård received the Wilhelm Hansen Composer Prize 2000. – © Anders Beyer

“…gennem torne… (through thorns) has a duration of about 20 minutes, in one continuous movement, thus the subtitle “passage”. The work is scored for harp solo, flute, clarinet and string quartet. The title is borrowed from the lines from an old Virgin Mary Hymn: “Mary wanders through thorns”, a hymn which ends with the following line: “then roses grew forth amongst the thorns”. I only came across the poem after finishing the composition, the “passage” of which is a journey of sometimes dramatic events, concluding with a “rose-blooming”, as does the hymn.

For “Through Thorns” to borrow its title from a Virgin Mary Hymn has to do with the musical material and current of the piece, which brings motives from an earlier choral piece of mine, FLOS UT ROSA (Latin for “a flower like a rose”), and the rose in question is of course the one which grew forth when the Virgin Mary gave birth to the Infant Jesus in a hitherto unheard-of fashion, a NOVA GENITURA (new birth), which is the title of another work of mine that also derives its material from my original “rose”-melody from 1975.” – Per Nørgård

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