• Per Nørgård
  • Gendhing (1980)

  • Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen (World)

The 3 works for percussion ensemble Intonation (2002) – Gendhing (1980) – Ground (1982) might form a "suite – for an east/west percussion ensemble”.

  • 8perc
  • 9 min

Programme Note

GENDHING (1980) – variations on a javananese melody. For percussion ensemble (min. 8 players).

Gendhing is based upon a calm and slow Javanese theme (“Cucubawur”), used as a point of departure for a series of variations. The piece was written after a visit to Bali in 1980, the instrumentation being for a West/East percussion ensemble of Balinese instruments (2 gjengs, 2 chalungs, 1 reong, 5 Bali gongs) and vibraphone, marimba and (all musicians) hand drums.

Gendhing could be performed together with the Ground from 1982 (same instrumentation), in this order: Ground – Gendhing – Ground. Or as a suite for West/East percussion ensemble consisting of Intonation (2002) – Gendhing (1980) – Ground (1982)

Per Nørgård

Possible programme notes for the percussion suite, consisting of:
Intonation (2002) – Gendhing (1980) – Ground (1982)

The Gamelan music of Jawa and Bali has inspired modern composers from Debussy to, among others, Per Nørgård, who experienced the virtuoso ensemble playing and the vibrating sounds of gamelan orchestras in Bali, visiting the island for the first time in 1975.
The inspiration was not about certain melodies, rhythms etc. but of a structural nature within the experiments with polyphony, interlocking and interference that Nørgård had work with since the 1960s. The Bali inspiration also resulted in a new kind of nørgardian ensemble music for percussion, called “infinity rhythms” (in A Light Hour, Easy Beats, I Ching, Echo Zone I-I-III, Nemo Dynamo a.o.). Nørgård´s specially tuned gamelan instruments were used in his opera The Divine Circus and in these works for percussion ensemble: Intonation (2002) – Gendhing (1980) – Ground (1982), three pieces that – in this order – might form a “suite – for an east/west percussion ensemble”: The composer writes abouit the pieces:

Intonation (2002) – is a dense polyphonic, chromatic piece with an often explosive expression. The network of the melodic patterns are due to the composers interest in new found ´hidden patterns´ in his so-called infinity series (dominant for instance in his Symphony no. 3, 1975 and the opera Siddharta, 1979)

Gendhing (1980) - is based upon a slow and calm Jawanese theme, used as a point of departure for a series of variations.

Ground (1982) – was originally a choral song with the title ”Solen er rund” (The Sun is round”, to a poem by the Danish Inger Christensen, 1982). The tune is based on the Balinese “pelog”-scale in a multi layered version, accompanied by infinity rhythm in different tempi.


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