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Per Nørgård : Prelude to Breaking (2010 Harp Version)

Work Notes The pieces is available in two version: the original (fl., clar., string quartet, piano and percussion) and the so-called Harp version (fl., clar., string quartet and harp).
A mezzosoprano might (ad lib.) sing a fragment of the composer’s ”Composition” (text by G. Ekelöf) in the coda of ”Prelude to breaking”, as notated in the score.
Edition Wilhelm Hansen Copenhagen
Category Large Ensemble (7 or more players)
9 Minutes
Orchestration fl(afl).cl(bcl)
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Full Score(s) WH31487

Programme Note

PRELUDE TO BREAKING (1986) for sinfonietta
The title quotes a book on wave forms (Willard Bascom: ´Waves and Beaches´, 1980), characterizing the surf-effect as a multitude of ´sub whirls´ in harmonic speed to each other. When this synchronicity tops over in accelerations of the individual tempos it is called ´Prelude to Breaking´.
The bass-continuous melody is perceived by the composer as a manifestation of the surf-phenomenon at a beach in Cualam, Kerala (India). Each second a new front of impressive length - up to hundreds of meters - breaks almost simultaneously all along, the many together producing a sound as from hundreds of lions, out of which to my ear was heard firstly: a fundamental and all its overtones, secondly: a 14 beat bass-(or rather all registers encompassing) melody. The three other motives have other stories - but all, like the mentioned one - possessing a feature of ´objets trouvées´, of treasures found.
A mezzosoprano might ad lib. sing a fragment of the composer´s “Composition” (text by G. Ekelöf) in the coda of “Prelude to breaking” (notated in the score).
The instrumental work might be played as a prelude to the choral song “Composition” (text by G. Ekelöf) with the title “Prelude to breaking – and to Composition”. Finally, the instrumental work might also be played as a prelude to the choral work “3 Hymniske Ansatser” (3 Hymnic Dispositions): 1.´Composition´, 2.´Strandvalmue´(´Beach Poppy´), 3.´Die Parke´(´The Parks´) – the choral work sung after “Prelude to breaking”.
Per Nørgård

Note: The last section (about the Mezzosoprano and the combination of pieces) might be used or not used, ad libitum.


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