The Third Symphony is the most monumental expression of the ideas and tendencies that
marked Per Nørgård's work as a composer for many years up to the middle of the 1970s.
As is generally the case with Nørgård's oeuvre, this symphony is a musical answer
to a question posed at the level of general epistemology. For many years he had
attempted to study and discover why it is that all things in the world seem to be
interrelated, both large and small. He became more and more convinced that there was an
all-embracing cosmic connection, and this idea forms the theme of the Third Symphony.
The symphony thus becomes a microcosmic portrayal of this cosmic harmony - the apotheosis
of universal harmony. It is this in virtue of its general hymn-like character and of the
compositional technique used: everything in the work is derived from the infinity series.
No wonder that while he was working on the symphony the composer referred to the work as
his Te Deum.
The symphony was commissioned by the Danish Broadcasting Corporation. The many-layered
structure and complicated rhythms of the work, which were a result of the hierarchical
technique of composition, appeared strange and new, not least to the composer himself. For
this reason, the Danish Broadcasting Corporation put its symphony orchestra at Per
Nørgård's disposal to try out ideas and experiments before they reached their final form
- a very remarkable offer, one must admit.