Per Nørgård's 2 Nocturnes - for 12 voices (2003)
1. Summer's Sleep (text: Ole Sarvig)
2. Michael's Night (text: Ib Michael)
These two choral pieces for 12 voices consists of radical recompositions on of earlier themes: in Summer's Sleep we hear new combinations of two 'Sarvig melodies' from the 1970s (one of which is now in the Danish Hymnbook under the title "Året", The Year); Michael's Night is based on an earlier, simple choral song (Star Mirror,1987), now for 12 voices and composed such that an original idea of "simultaneously displaced, opposite motions" cf. the poem) comes out as desired.
Of the Nocturnes Nørgård writes: "Summer's Sleep was composed to stanzas of Ole Sarvig's poem The Year (from the collection Forstadsdigte ('Suburban Poems')) and forms the picture of "the summer of life", which is asleep - while the "heaven seed" waits for the summer wind ("invisible to every mind"). The many layers of text are expressed musically in a multilayered choral texture with 'looks' up and down through the various tempo and time-worlds: summer sleep, summer dream.
"The second nocturne, Michael's Night, takes its name from the author Ib Michael, whose poem Star Mirror (from the collection Himmelbegravelse ('Sky Funeral') (1986) I pushed/coaxed him to expand from one to nine stanzas. The four selected stanzas set in
the nocturne focus on the pan-erotic elements of the moonlit, starlit night. With the titles I have chosen I have stressed the mythic layer of the text, the summer night not as a dream but as sensual reality. "The two nocturnes are dedicated to Ivan Hansen on the occasion of his fiftieth birthday on 25th February 2003, out of gratitude for over a quarter of a century of inspiring collaboration".
Danish version available: KP01444