• Per Nørgård
  • Scintillation (1993)

  • Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen (World)
  • 16 min

Programme Note

- for flute, clarinet, horn, violin, viola, cello and grand piano

The title is referring to the collective phenomenon of glittering individually lit, points of light: The work’s audible impressions are analogous to the idea of scintillation as wavelike accelerations (or slowing downs) over the surface(s).

The instrumentation is divided between two groups of respectively, winds and strings, intermediated by the piano, which often complement each other using contrasting layers of tempo.

There are two sorts of “sound surfaces” in the work:
One layer is below the rationally measured time limit for perceiving other than wavelike, lawfully acting (but not analyzable) tone chains, which are tied to the movement and its closest neighbors. These sounding on, equally undefinable, tone pitches of harmonic spectral tones.

The other one is a (rationally structured) shape, but one born of many, smaller shapes, fitting within each other like Russian dolls. Even a seemingly all-comprehensive shape may turn out to be part of a further, superior shape. But none of the layers seem to have any expressive superiority. Sometimes the objective character yields for a apparently warmer, ´singing´ line - but since this too, eventually, reveals itself as another (objective) part of the superior pattern, this emotional difference will be overruled by the development - and revealed as another, minor detail in the major tapestry – the ´majesty´ of this carpet may be doubted, though.

When the wavelike, irrational layer confronts the superior, metrical one, where can the music be anywhere else than in the difference between those two? An interference - which is not so easily defined - like scintillations.

The work was commissioned by the Nash Ensemble.
The duration is around 12 minutes.

Per Nørgård


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