Author Topic: Nørgård's Niche  (Read 41135 times)

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Kullervo

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Nørgård's Niche
« on: June 15, 2007, 05:43:57 PM »
There doesn't seem to be much talk about this composer whom I feel is one of the most, if not THE most, profound composer of the past 50 years. So here's a little intro for those not acquainted!

Per Nørgård



Born July 13th, 1932 in Gentofte, Denmark.

Studied under both Nadia Boulanger and Vagn Holmboe.

Had a correspondence with Jean Sibelius for some time before the master's death in 1957 (Sibelius is also a huge influence on Nørgård).

Experimented with serial and collage techniques in his early works.

Discovered a series of numbers called the Infinity Series, which is, to be honest, over my head. Some good examples of pieces that utilize the series are Voyage Into the Golden Screen and the 2nd and 3rd symphonies.

Became obsessed with the schizophrenic Swiss artist Adolf Wölfli, eventually writing several works based around Wölfli's troubled life and work. Major works from his "Wölfli" period are the 4th Symphony and the opera, The Divine Tivoli (Tivoli translates to something like "circus" or "carnival").

His latest works from the 1990s to now are harder to pin down. His 5th symphony I honestly don't understand, but other more recent pieces seem to be more accessible, such as his piano concerto.

I hope this has been educational!  $:)
« Last Edit: September 30, 2008, 05:45:39 AM by Corey »

uffeviking

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2007, 05:58:43 PM »
It has, and I am glad you brought it up! Makes me feel a lot better to hear you too are struggling with this no doubt great, but complicated composer.

I have quite a number of his works in my collection but am really familiar with his two operas Siddharta and Gilgamesh. In fact it was my interest in the epic of Gilgamesh which introduced me to him. I'll keep on plugging away at him, and keep on reminding us and educating us!  :)

Kullervo

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2007, 07:03:24 PM »
Hm, no other replies? Are people just not interested in music they haven't heard?  :(

uffeviking

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2007, 07:17:09 PM »
Don't be discouraged, please! As you can tell from part of my on-line name I always have been interested in music by Scandinavian composers, and like you, received very rare responses. There is only one Canadian member here who is familiar with Nørgârd, evidently he has not read your post yet.  :(

Kullervo

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2007, 07:32:43 PM »
There is only one Canadian member here who is familiar with Nørgârd, evidently he has not read your post yet.  :(

That wouldn't be Xantus would it?  ;)

uffeviking

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2007, 07:37:16 PM »
No! As impossible as it sounds, it would be Lilas Pastia!  :)

Kullervo

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2007, 07:43:38 PM »
Ha! Well, perhaps this isn't the place to look for fellow Nørgård fan(atic)s. It would seem that most of the users's tastes go to about 1920, and not much further.

not that it's a bad thing...

uffeviking

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2007, 07:53:31 PM »
Remember it's Saturday night! And remember it's a weekend; a lot of posters use their employer's system at work or at school. Also it's night in Europe, where we have many members. All kinds of excuses I can come up with, but none for my lack of intimate knowledge of your favourite composer!  :)

Choo Choo

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2007, 01:51:34 AM »
I am very fond of the distinctive sound world which Norgard creates in his symphonies.  The first 3 are the ones I know best.

Offline Raisa

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2007, 03:34:49 AM »
I've have heard about him but never his music! Any CD-recommendations? Which of his works should I start with? Has he written any symphonies? ???

Cheers! 8)

Offline edward

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2007, 04:02:59 AM »
I'm generally positive about Norgard: love the 3rd and 6th symphonies and Terrains vagues, and like most of the other symphonies and some of the concerti I've heard. The chamber music seems to me to be mostly rather dull--lacking the textural interest of the works for larger ensembles.

I've not listened to Gilgamesh in a long while--maybe I should pull it out today.

For a newcomer to Norgard's music, this disc appears to me to be a prime recommendation: the Third Symphony is a comparatively accessible work with an almost Scriabinesque over-the-top nature, while the piano concerto is a lot of fun. Good performances, too.

« Last Edit: June 17, 2007, 04:05:48 AM by edward »
"I don't at all mind actively disliking a piece of contemporary music, but in order to feel happy about it I must consciously understand why I dislike it. Otherwise it remains in my mind as unfinished business."
 -- Aaron Copland, The Pleasures of Music

Kullervo

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2007, 04:31:41 AM »
I'm generally positive about Norgard: love the 3rd and 6th symphonies and Terrains vagues, and like most of the other symphonies and some of the concerti I've heard. The chamber music seems to me to be mostly rather dull--lacking the textural interest of the works for larger ensembles.

I've not listened to Gilgamesh in a long while--maybe I should pull it out today.

For a newcomer to Norgard's music, this disc appears to me to be a prime recommendation: the Third Symphony is a comparatively accessible work with an almost Scriabinesque over-the-top nature, while the piano concerto is a lot of fun. Good performances, too.



I second that recommendation.

I think the order one should listen to his symphonies should go something like this: 3, 1, 2, 6, 4, 5

I wonder when 7 will be recorded...

Choo Choo

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2007, 12:36:16 PM »
I second that recommendation.

I think the order one should listen to his symphonies should go something like this: 3, 1, 2, 6, 4, 5

I agree too.  The 3rd has the most arresting opening few minutes - plunges you straight into his sound world.  I never tire of that piece.

Norgard is also refreshing and invigorating after you've been over-indulging in the Late Romantics:  the aural equivalent of a facial peel.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2007, 01:01:23 PM by Choo Choo »

btpaul674

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2007, 10:45:06 AM »
I did not know Norgard had written a 7th....

What is known about it?

Kullervo

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2007, 10:49:19 AM »
I did not know Norgard had written a 7th....

What is known about it?

I shall ask him. :)

btpaul674

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2007, 10:54:54 AM »
Excellent.

Kullervo

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2007, 10:57:25 AM »
Excellent.

It might be several weeks though. He doesn't have an email (that I know of), so I will have to send him a letter through the post, and even then it could take him a while to answer. There is, also, a possibility that he will not answer, though I've been told he greatly appreciates letters from his admirers.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2007, 11:13:28 AM »
Ah, somehow I missed this thread!  I'm relatively new to Nørgård , but like what little I've heard.  My introduction was on a CD called Baltic Voices 2, which has his Winter Hymn.  I love choral music so I'd be eager to hear more of his work in that genre.



I've also heard his piano trio Spell, on this CD called Passage, which I liked as well, but I don't think I have more than that.  Checking on Amazon, he's quite well-represented on recordings!  PS, coincidentally, just yesterday I had pulled out this disc below.  I recall liking the whole thing, in addition to the Nørgård trio.



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« Last Edit: July 07, 2007, 09:59:05 AM by bhodges »
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S709

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2007, 09:55:49 AM »
There is only one Canadian member here who is familiar with Nørgârd, evidently he has not read your post yet.  :(

No, there's two. :P

Sorry I neglected this thread before... Norgard is one of the most important composers today for sure.
There is something totally original and wonderful about his music, whether it is new sonorities (Symphony 6) or unusual but awesome rhythmic innovations (Terrains Vagues), and so on.

"Wie ein Kind" sounds appropriately crazy, as does "And Time Shall be no More" -- though my favorite from the Wolfli period is the anguished and sometimes frightening Symphony no. 4.

I don't see anyone ever mention his piano works: I like "Achilles and the Tortoise" (1983) the most. A piece in the spirit of some of the Ligeti etudes, probably equally difficult, and a joy to hear. I haven't gotten into the piano sonatas yet, and they are early works.

Actually, I haven't gotten much into early Norgard, for example the two Holmboe-like early symphonies.

Any thoughts on there?

Oh, and another thing -- his 2 violin concertos are wonderful.


greg

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Re: Nørgård's Niche
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2007, 11:20:31 AM »
Kullervo, there were a few members that almost regularly visit Norgard, but haven't been on this forum in awhile, for maybe 2 or 3 months. Two of them regularly posted, Mikkel and Daniel, and another i don't think ever posted but he might've joined anyways.
Here's a couple of pms Mikkel sent me, i just thought you'd be interested:

You will never believe this Greg! I called Per Nørgård today just after dinner... :o

I was together with my friend Daniel, and we decided to call Nørgård to ask if we could possibly get some lessons with him some time. First I told Nørgård, that I heard a lot of his music and loved his ideas and then I introduced my self and my two friends and asked if he would give us a lesson, and he said, that he did not teach anymore, but we could call again in august and then perhabs meet in Copenhagen in his house at the late morning.
Then he said, that it was quite funny because this day today was a very special day to him - he has just finished his Symphony nr. 7 here today just before I called him.  :o :angel: (Greg, don´t say this to anyone! It´s a secret! :police:) And then he said: ,,Congratulation! Congratulation! Congratulation to myself! "... And then I also gratulated him. ;D

When we had talked for 9 minuttes, he said, that he had to go now, because he should go to dinner, before his wife would get angry at him. :D

It was really cool to hear that mans voice.  8)

Quote
Oh, I was wrong! His 7th symphony has not yet been performed, because it´s written for the opening ceremony of the new radio hause in Denmark...

I visited Nørgård yesterday with two of my freinds, and we had a really nice conversation for almost 4 hours!  The first thing he said to us, when he opened the door, was, that he had prepared some healthy and some sweet - the healthy was carrottes, and the sweet was snittes of Snickers chocolate bars, then he asked if we would like coffee or cranberry juice... He showed us his apartment and at second floor (which was originally the roof room) was hes work place, where we found a Hindsberg piano in the middle with handwritten scores everywhere both on the piano and the table. And next to the piano and table was another room he caaled his score archive. It was filled as a library with only Nørgårds music and he said, he had soon too much music for that room!
Then we was sitting and talked about his and our music and Sibelius´s life etc. It was SO exciting, when Nørgård told us the story about, when he discovered the tone of the ocean and how intuitive melodies founded near the ocean was actually later discovered as perfect connecting with his infinity series.   

He told us stories of when he met Stravinsky and how strange he was as a person - and he showed us letters from Sibelius from when he dedicated works for him! And then he told, that he was only 2 persons from Beethoven: Nørgård had shaked hands with Sibelius, whom shaked hands with a old german violinist, whom knew Beethoven and helped him with the practical work of the 9th symphony! 

Then Nørgård gave us a cd and we got a pen, the one I got, was the one he had just used when he composed the last days. So I will save it as a souvenir. 
 

And then he said that he visited him like 7 times over the time span of maybe 2 months!
Attached is the picture of all of them together. In the middle is Mikkel and to the right is Daniel.