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Per Nørgård

Publisher: Edition Wilhelm Hansen

Symfoni nr. 2 (1970)
Work Notes
In one movement. Rev. 1971
Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen
Sub Category
Large Orchestra
Year Composed
24 Minutes

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Programme Note
Per Nørgård Symfoni nr. 2 (1970)
SYMPHONY NO. 2 – IN ONE MOVEMENT (1970/rev. 1971)

After the first performance of my chamber orchestra work Voyage Into The Golden Screen (1969) I was very preoccupied with ‘voyaging on’ in the infinity series I had brought to fruition in the second movement of the work: instead of about 1000 notes of the series I wanted to use about 4000, in order to create the potential for further exploration of the many layers and interval combinations of the infinity series. Instead of the pristine progression of the notes and its orchestration in ‘Voyage’ I now wanted to intervene: to create melodies, lead up to climaxes, darken, enlighten, etc., but all with respect for the continuous flow and the preservation of the special timeless objectivity characteristic of the infinity series.

One can perhaps experience the many recurrences of motifs in tempo layers from fast to very slow as a successor to the fractal computer graphics of the eighties. At any rate this ‘Symphony no. 2 in one movement’ (which was the result) became the precursor of the other works of the seventies, including my 50-minute long, chorally integrated Third Symphony (from 1973-75), which is also based on the infinity series, but in addition has incorporated the upper and lower harmonic series and rhythms with ‘Golden’ duration proportions.

The Second Symphony lasts about 25 minutes and was given its first performance on13th April 1970 by the Aarhus City Orchestra conducted by Per Dreier.

Per Nørgård (August 1992)

Score preview

  • Ensemble
    Aarhus Symphony Orchestra
    Jorma Panula
  • Ensemble
    Danish Radio Symphony Orchestra
    Leif Segerstam
  • Ensemble
    Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra
    John Storgårds
To begin, a delicate unison slides gradually into a semitone, and then the symphony is off on its way- cumulatively beautiful, structurally tangible and deliciously pure.
Andrew Mellor , Gramophone ,01/07/2016
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