PER NØRGÅRD (b.1932): Prelude to Breaking for 8 Instruments, 4 Meditations for 7 Instruments, Arabesques for Solo Percussion, 3 Scenes for Percussion and 6 Instruments.
Catalogue Number: 09O067
Description: Prelude (1986) is decades older than the other pieces here, and finds the composer in the midst of his preoccupation with wave-derived processes. The 'breaking' of the title is in fact that of waves, and the piece explores the accumulation of eddying motions, culminating in a freely notated passage for the chaotic aftermath of the breaking of the wave. The Meditations are based on material from the composer's Winter Cantata and refer to the poem 'The Year' by Ole Sarvig. A largely tonal theme is presented in deliberately archaic-sounding instrumentation, surrounded by less tonal, but still melodic ornamentation. The Arabesques are short 'studies' for percussion, characterized by overlapping and shifting rhythmic patterns - briefly with a definite 'beat' in the second - and evolving instrumentation, leading to an extended solo for the musical saw in the third piece, derived from that in the Scenes. That work, in three movements, is a kind of miniature percussion concerto. Based on an increasingly ornamented brief note-row, the work is propelled forward by progressively more complex polyrhythmic devices, led by and centered on the predominantly melodic solo part, emphasizing the tuned percussion instruments, including extensive use of bowed vibraphone and musical saw. The last movement introduces more conventionally dynamic, rhythmic percussion writing, leading to an excitingly energetic conclusion. Christian Martínez (percussion), Esbjerg Ensemble; Petter Sundkvist.