PER NØRGÅRD (b.1932): Flute Quintet, Op. 1 “Hommage à Marc Chagall”*, Vintersalme for Solo Voice*, From Libro per Nobuko: I. Sonata - The Secret Melody for Solo Viola, Fragment V for Solo Violin, Zwei Saiten, eine Stimme for Mezzo-Soprano and Violin*, Cantica for Cello and Piano*. * - First Recordings.
Catalogue Number: 07X047
Description: An appealing and approachable disc - essential for Nørgård enthusiasts, of course, as almost everything is a world premiere recording and the very early works included provide a fascinating glimpse into the composer’s early development (and his remarkable sure-footedness in embarking on his compositional journey). The major work here is the half-hour quintet of 1952-53, the composer’s official Op.1! Subtitled "Hommage à Marc Chagall" the three-movement work bears the imprint of Holmboe, Nørgård's teacher at the time, in its processes of motivic metamorphosis, its tonality, and a Nordic feel to its textures. Traces of Shostakovich are also distinctly audible. The extended first movement builds a fine dramatic tension through a series of moods; the central Adagio is sombre and lyrical, very much of the North; after a deliberately misleading "serious" introduction, the finale is an irresistibly good-humored series of lively dances. The brief Fragment V (1951) is effectively a study in the use of the "Infinity Series" which the composer had just started to develop. The intense exploration of this technique throughout the 1960s is bypassed in this recital, and the Romantic revival of the 1970s had exerted its influence on Nørgård, and the beautiful Cantica, still a post-3rd Symphony Infinity series work, is nonetheless warmly harmonized and very approachable and appealing. The Sonata, written for Nobuku Imai in 1992, is part of the incredibly fertile period during which the Infinity Series, the works exploring Adolf Wölffli's teeming, fractured world, and the power of communication stemming from "harmonic and tradition-based" patterns, together with Nørgård's restless inventiveness, converged. Pentatonic scales, extended tunings and an extraordinary richness of texture inform the entirety of this remarkable work, the five movements of which "pull focus" in photographic terms, to reveal the hidden lyricism at its heart. Danish-English texts. Signe Asmussen (mezzo), Irena Kavčič (flute), Helge Slatto (violin). Anette Slatto (viola), John Ende (cello), Erik Kaltoft (piano).