Music and creation
The Third Symphony is usually regarded as the apogee of Nørgård's hierarchical phase in the 1970s. In the following I shall outline my attempt at a short synthesis of this symphony, based on my own analyses: being largely intuitive, it contains many images and associations.
|At the beginning of the first
movement we hear a deep C, the overtone spectrum
of which is articulated by various instruments. These overtones are in turn the
fundamentals of new overtone spectra, which are played at a very high level before
gradually moving stepwise downwards.
|Out of this tonal field the
rhythm arises. At first it is a regularly pulsing two-note
infinity row, but gradually it assimilates the opportunities offered by the tonal
field; bit by bit the chromatic infinity row
arises, and out of this again the diatonic
infinity row. The rhythms become more and more golden. Thus, after six minutes of playing
time , melody and rhythm have both unfolded their potentialities.
|A new process of creation can
now begin. The awareness arrived at by the musical organism at this stage provides the
springboard for a new development: the infinity row becomes melodic, so that the individuality of the
organism comes more and more to the fore, as does its polyphony. The composition expands
the multiple layers of the row: individuals flower
and multiply, revealing themselves in all their beauty before going into hibernation at the end
of the movement, when they turn in on themselves
and roll up into a ball, so that the piece ends more or less as it began, thought it can
now triumphantly say: "See what I can do!"
|In the second movement of the
symphony we hear the infinity row organism take on widely different acoustic disguises: we
encounter wondrous melodies, calm and
soothing as lullabies, while in other places the music heaps itself up in wave after wave; music in a
wide variety of styles reaches out to us. All this is based on the infinity row. It is
like a tapestry, from whose threads every detail of the composition is woven: "...fühl, daß der ganze, der rühmliche
Teppich gemeint ist" ("...remember: what matters is always the whole of
that wonderful tapestry") is the resounding message of the large final chorus. This
is a quotation from a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke, God-seeker and a mystic of everyday
life. What particularly appealed to Nørgård was this latter side of Rilke; a constant
feeling of wonder at the boundless depth of everyday experience. Not surprising that under
the last line of the score is written : Soli Deo Gloria.
See moreover the analysis of the Third Symphony.