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Work Information

Per Nørgård : Himmelkim

Work Notes "HIMMELKIM" (2003) is also available in an English version: "HEAVEN GERM" – for equal voices (SSAA ell. TTBB)- four movements, tree pieces, two melodies, one work.

Wilhelm Hansen
Category Chorus a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument
Year Composed
Duration 5 Minutes
equal voices SSAA (or SSAT, or TTBB)
Languages Danish, English
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Programme Note

HEAVEN GERM – for equal voices (SSAA ell. TTBB) – (2003)
- four movements, tree pieces, two melodies, one work.

1. Under snow
2. The passing year
3. A heaven germ
4. A germ of grace

When in 1975 I had finished composing my 3rd Symphony (begun in 1973), I wrote three simple melodies for two psalm texts by Ole Sarvig: “The Year” and “Choral Hymn”. These three tunes were derived from the same material as the second movement of the 3rd Symphony and could be harmonized together in several different tempo relationships at the same time - like fractals – which inspired me to write several choral and instrumental works in the following decade based on these melodies: “Frost Psalm”, “Winter Cantata”, “Cantica”, “Cycle” a.o.
One of these ‘Sarvig melodies’ is now in the Danish Hymnbook, under the title "Året"(The Year).
“Heaven germ” is both the most simple and concentrated combination of two of these Sarvig-melodies from the 1970s, melodies plucked from the so called infinity series of tones, that I have often used in works since 1959 when I found it. The choral like “The passing year”, dominating the second movement, is exactly every fifth note of the infinity series. The other, descending, melody “A heaven germ” (third movement) consists of every 15th note of the series. In the first and last movement the two melodies are combined, both in two different tempi at the same time, creating a rather dense polyphony, in correspondence with the different layers of Ole Sarvig´s Nordic and mythic poem.

The work is available in both a Danish and an English version (translated by Helen and Ole Sarvig)

Per Nørgård


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