• Per Nørgård
  • Zwei Wölfli-Lieder - für Chor (1980)
    (Zwei Wölfli-Lieder - for choir)

  • Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen (World)
  • SATB chor
  • 10 min 14 s

Programme Note

The texts for the two contrasting choral songs are by the Swiss schizophrenic artist Adolf Wölfli (1864-1930). The shift between idyll and catastrophe characterises Wölfli´s fate and works (ca. 20.000 pages of prose, poems and painting etc.), which in the 1980s inspired Per Nørgård to compose spontaneously and very dramatic, sometimes almost wildly. The expression is often polarized between the mentioned idylls and catastrophes. In Nørgårds 4th Symphony and the opera The Divine Circus, this is expressed in the large format – the choral songs show this in miniature:

In “Abendlied” we meet Wölfli in a rare state of sunset calm (interrupted however by threatening clouds in the final notes) – all brushed aside by indignation, heretical accusations of God in the subsequent “Halleluja, der Herr is verrückt”. This melody is incidentally the only one of Wölfli´s many music scripts that has been deciphered (he often played on a cardboard trumpet in the asylum, but wrote his music down in a complicated six-lined notation system). Nørgård arranged the melody as the concluding chorus in the opera The Divine Circus, where in the end all Wölfli´s demons in procession, sing him to with a declaration of love.