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Work Information

Per Nørgård : Jack of Diamonds

Work Notes Tales from a hand (four suites) - suite IV
Wilhelm Hansen
Category Solo Works (excluding keyboard)
Year Composed
Duration 18 Minutes
Availability Sale from Musicroom or Music Dispatch  Explain this...

Programme Note

The characteristic associations or different moods of the four types of playing cards - Spades, Hearts, Clubs and Diamonds - was the inspiration for the four guitar suites of “Tales From a Hand” (1. In the Mood of Spades. 2. The Queen of Hearts. 3. Clubs among Jokers. 4. Jack of Diamonds).

Suite IV, Jack of Diamonds. Being the concluding suite of the four, ‘Jack of Diamonds’ represents a kind of diary of a trickster and seducer – in 8 musical scenes/movements, almost a parallel to the Rake’s progress.

Scene 1 “I am Jack” is a presentation: The music unfolds elegantly, with great self-confidence in a complicated and whippersnapper-like rhythmic world. (Jack Nicholson’s Joker in “Batman” could be used as illustration.)
Scene 2: “On the Track – I” (Promenade) is the seducer after his victim, con fuoco, like a beast of prey.
Scene 3: “Come out and play” – tempting, with the naivety of a children’s song – but the beast of prey lies just beneath the surface, ready to spring!
Scene 4: Thawing of the shy girl, poetic and seductive. He knows his stuff does Jack.
Scene 5: “On the Track - II”. Material from scene 2 is recognisable although it is slightly different. Preparations are being made for an empathetic chat with a sad lady of higher rank.
Scene 6: In this movement, “Sad eyed Lady, Empathy with the Dark Queen”, not only is the melody from the queen’s movement in Suite I (“In the Mood of Spades”) is quoted, but also the entire sensual and sombre basic mood of the music.
Scene 7: Material from the two “On the Track” movements is recognisable, but a mood of desperation is now clearly evident. On the track is now “off the track”, exhausted!
Scene 8: Peripeti, the reversal of circumstances, “The Right One” with the question, “Who are you? (Are you the right one, are you the real “you”?). Is this the story of a mature Jack – and has he at last found a more permanent partner? The music combines different moods like an apotheosis; contrasting words like con fatalismo (fatalistic), con gusto (with appetite), grave (heavy), giubilante (jubilant), brilliante (brilliant) , lontano (remote) are used as keywords for the musician in this concluding movement, lasting 6-7 minutes.

The integral version of “Tales From a Hand” (four suites for guitar solo) is dedicated to Erling Møldrup

Per Nørgård 2008


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