PER NØRGÅRD (b.1932): Will-O'-The-Wisps in Town for Mezzo-Soprano, Trumpet, Trombone, Violin, Cello and Piano, Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano.
Catalogue Number: 08O071
Description: Nørgård's fairy-tale cantata (heard here in the composer's 2006 reworking of the original version for larger forces) adapts a story by Hans Christian Andersen written when the author, dismayed by the events of 1865 when part of Denmark was lost to Germany, felt that he had run out of inspiration and went searching for the fairy tales that he felt had deserted him. The mythical figure of the Marsh Witch warns him that the Will o' the Wisps have come to town, and the story ends. Suzanne Brøgger's continuation of the story has the Will o' the Wisps finding that we have made such a mess of contemporary society that their mischief is irrelevant and ineffectual. Nørgård sets this picturesque satire as a series of scenes, with dramatic spoken storytelling and a virtuoso part for the mezzo soloist (filling both roles), in a kind of polystylistic idiom with melodic, operatically dramatic arias alternating with spikier, somewhat Stravinskyan harmonically acerbic material. The chamber piece with the subtitle 'Wave Music' borrows its title from Whitman's great poem about the sea, and incorporates many evocations of waves, from the overlapping of phrases of an unassumingly neoclassical nature, to folk music of Hawaii (the source of the work's commission) to the acoustical phenomenon of beats between closely adjacent tones. As experimental and eclectic as this sounds, the actual music sounds like an accessible, atmospheric little tone-poem in delicate, watercolor strokes. CD + DVD. Danish-English texts. Helene Gjerris (mezzo), Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen.