• Per Nørgård
  • Proteus (1980)

  • Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen (World)

Version by the composer for Saxophone and percussion (1980/1997) available.

  • fl, perc
  • saxophone, percussion
  • 14 min

Programme Note

Proteus was a Greek king and prophet – a man in front – living at the time of Orpheus and Eurydice, and a friend of Aristaeus (who attempted to rape Euridice, causing her escape, during which she was bitten by a snake).

But Proteus is also known for his ability to “change form”, and in this way connected to the strange person “Zelig” in Woody Allen´s film of that name. Proteus is even more advanced than Zelig, as he was also able to change with the seasons and to turn into the shape of different fishes, lions et cetera. My piece bears his name because of the changing characters of the musical motifs and themes, made by small changes in accents and rhythms, waving to and fro, as indicated in the Danish subtitle (Stier og Dale - stiger og daler), a rather untranslatable pair of Danish homographs, meaning something like “ascents and descents - ascends and descends”.

Per Nørgård


Proteus: Stier og dale - stiger og daler