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Work Information

Per Nørgård : Frost Hymn


Work Notes Frostsalme (1975-76), rev. 2001.
English version available (Frost Psalm), 2001.
Publisher
Wilhelm Hansen
Category Chorus a cappella / Chorus plus 1 instrument
Year Composed
1976
Duration 18 Minutes
Chorus
SSSS AAAA TTTT BBBB chor
Languages Danish, English
Availability
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Full Score(s) KP01091

Programme Note

FROST PSALM (1976/rev.2001) For 16 part mixed choir (SSSSAAAATB), including 4 crotales.

Short version:
FROST PSALM was completed in 1976, after my Symphony No.3.
After the symphony I wrote several melodies with texts by the Danish poet Ole Sarvig, melodies related to the second part of the symphony.

FROST PSALM sets two poems by Ole Sarvig (“The Year” – represented in two melodies - and “ The Choral Hymn”). “The Year” is heard first, but “The Choral Hymn” begins only a few bars later, thus creating a simultaneous setting of the two poems. The intermingling of these two verses produces a rich ambiguity of meaning - as each text provides a commentary on the other: The description of the Year, running its course, is given a new other-worldly dimension by the disguised commentary of the mystical, cosmic tone of the Choral Hymn.
The work exists in both an Danish version (Frostsalme) and an English version, translated by Ole and Helen Sarvig.

Per Nørgård


Longer version (if needed):
FROST PSALM was completed in 1976, after my Symphony No.3. I wrote several melodies related to the second part of the symphony (with texts by the Danish poet Ole Sarvig), melodies that could be harmonized in several different tempos at the same time. This inspired me to a series of “Sarvig”-pieces in the next decades: “Winter Cantata”, “Winter Hymn”, “Cantica”, “Cycles” and “Frost Psalm”, the most complex of these works.
The basic psalm tune of Frost Psalm is now included in the official Danish Hymn Book (no. 720: “Som året går” - “The passing year”)

FROST PSALM sets two poems by Ole Sarvig (“The Year” – represented in two melodies - and “ The Choral Hymn”). “The Year” is heard first, but “The Choral Hymn” begins only a few bars later, thus creating a simultaneous setting of the two poems. The intermingling of these two verses produces a rich ambiguity of meaning - as each text provides a commentary on the other: The description of the Year, running its course, is given a new other-worldly dimension by the disguised commentary of the mystical, cosmic tone of the Choral Hymn.

A variety of choral textures are heard in the 16-18 minutes long work, from single melodic line to complex 16-part polyphony.

During the work some of the singers are asked to whistle and play crotales, and in the central section of Frost Psalm the voices are divided into four separate choirs, the effect of which is underlined changing of positions on the concert platform.

Per Nørgård




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