There were wild oats
And the soil was black
When the sun was out
The air sharp in the nostrils
Hard to define
Somewhere between knife and coal and
Acid and that special light and sweet
Whiteness thornbushes exhale
It was nothing special
Because everything was special
Thus the opening line of the poem TERRAINS VAGUES by Klaus Rifbjerg, the Danish Poet. I chose to adopt this title for my orchestral work, because of its closeness in associations: an indeterminable, often polarized, state of rhythmic and tonal ambiguity.
The expression seems created by the Franch author, Victor Hugo:
"And here lies the fascination: in the kinds of "terrains vagues", which are simultaniously bizarre and ugly, as if created by two alien species of nature. To watch the suburb is like observing and amphibium: trees vanish, roofs appear, grass vanish, cobble stones appear, ploughing fields vanish, shops appear, beaten tracks vanish - passions appear; the murmur of Nature Divine ends, the noise of Mankind takes over." (Victor Hugo)
Still, the atmosphere as well as the material of TERRAINS VAGUES have its origin, in my SYMPHONY NO. 6 (1999), the last minute of which, "cut up rough", appears as the start of my new work. The music of TERRAINS VAGUES subdivides itself, without breaks, into three sections, or shades:
I: TERRAINS - II: VAGUES (Waves) III: TERRAINS VAGUES.
Per Nørgård, March 2001