• Per Nørgård
  • Seadrift (1978)

  • Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen (World)

Seadrift may be played by a baroque ensemble (using recorders, luth, viola da gamba, harpsichord) or by a modern ensemble (using flutes, guitar, cello, piano) – or by a balanced mixture of the two.

  • vn, vc[vdga], fl[rec], perc, pf[hpd], gtr
  • Soprano
  • 16 min
  • Walt Whitman
  • English

Programme Note

SEADRIFT (1978) – a love song in two verses, for soprano and 6 instruments (1978).

Seadrift, a song of earthly love was composed for soprano and ensemble, like my “Nova Genitura” – a work of the heavenly love of Maria hymns, with the same instrumentation. In “Seadrift” the melodic material is more related to present-day folk music (“Winds blow south and winds blow north”). Walt Whitman´s great poem ´Seadrift´ evokes the situation that makes the child Walt feel he has been chosen as a poet. He observes the fate of two birds on the desolate rocky beach at Paumanok. He experiences the happiness of the couple in being together – and later suffers with the abandoned male bird, which breaks out into shrill, plaintive cries.

This motif is concentrated in the two movements of the work (Being Together and Torn Apart). In the last movement the memory of being together struggles with the grief and – in the end – the despair.

Seadrift was composed, like “Nova Genitura”, for the Danish baroque ensemble Sub Rosa. It may be played by a baroque ensemble (using recorders, luth, viola da gamba, harpsichord) or by a modern ensemble (using flutes, guitar, cello, piano) – or by a balanced mixture of the two.

Per Nørgård

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