• Per Nørgård
  • Frostsalme - Fragmenter (2003)
    (Frost Psalm - Fragments )

  • Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen (World)

A short version of "Frost Psalm" (1975)
Danish and English version (translated by Ole & Helen Sarvig)available.

  • 9 min
  • Ole Sarvig
  • Danish, English

Programme Note

FROST PSALM - FRAGMENTS (1976/2003) - for 16-part mixed chorus.(or 16 solo voices)

FROST PSALM was completed in 1976, after my Symphony No.3. I wrote several melodies related to the second part of the symphony (with texts by the Danish poet Ole Sarvig), melodies that could be harmonized in several different tempos at the same time. This inspired me to a series of "Sarvig”-pieces in the next decades: "Winter Cantata”, "Winter Hymn”, "Cantica”, "Cycles” and "Frost Psalm”, the most complex of these works.

FROST-PSALM-FRAGMENTS consist of part 1 and 3 of FROST PSALM, which sets to music two poems by Danish poet Ole Sarvig: THE YEAR and CHORAL HYMN.

The text of THE YEAR is heard first, but only a few bars later the text of CHORAL HYMN overlaps, thus creating a simultaneous setting of the two poems. The intermingling of these two texts produces a rich ambiguity of "meanings”, as each text creates a commentary on the other; the description of the passing of the year is given a new, other-worldly dimension by the added mystical tone of the hymn – and vice versa.

A wide variety of choral textures are heard, from single melodic line to complex 16-part polyphony. The melodies are based on my so-called "infinity series”, a serial technique which makes it possible – in a harmonious way – to create melodies in different tempi running simultaneously, almost like "fractals” – and not unlike the proportional canons of certain of the Renaissance composers. Melodies of this kind may also be heard in my SYMPHONY NO. 2 (1970) and SYMPHONY NO. 3 (1975) and in the opera SIDDHARTA (1979), as well as in several choral works to texts by Ole Sarvig (in Danish or in English).
The work exists in both a Danish version (Frostsalme-Fragmenter) and in an English version (Frost Psalm-Fragments), the poems translated by Ole and Helen Sarvig.

Per Nørgård