Set of parts for Per Nørgård's En Lys Time / A Light Hour (2008-09) for a variable Percussion Ensemble (min. 10 players).
In A Light Hour everything - rhythms and motifs – is based on Nørgård´s special infinity series.
A Light Hour is for ‘any number of percussion musicians’ (but a minimum of ten). The duration is about 60 minutes. The instrumentation is in principle open, as long as percussion is used within the three types specified in the score: skin, metal and wood. Each musician uses two sound sources with two different sounds, one of which is bright (or light) and the other dark. Certain passages also include tuned percussion instruments – vibraphone, xylophone, marimba, gamelan, glockenspiel, steel drums, crotales and the like.
The work integrates and combines a number of rhythms that Nørgård has used in percussion works since the 1970s, for example in Early Spring Dance (for choir and percussion), and percussion works like I Ching, Easy Beats, Whirls, Zigzag, Nemo Dynamo and Echo Zone I-II-III.
Special “tone-feasts” (the composer’s term) – followed by a rest – are an recognizable
melodic feature of the work.: the first minute end with a short tone-feast (and a rest), the first four minutes end with a tone-feast lasting a minute (and a rest), the first quarter of an hour ends with a tone-feast of four minutes (and a rest) – and the work ends with a tone-feast lasting quarter of an hour (and a rest, when the work is over ...).
The first 15 minutes have a bright, light character throughout, and alternate between
rhythms and melodic play. The following 15 minutes are more insistent and decidedly
percussion-based, Afro-Cuban, whereas the third quarter of A Light Hour moves in the direction of an Asiatic-Chinese sound world with metal and wood in the foreground. The great tone-feast of the concluding 15 minutes moves from the sounds of the Balinese gamelan towards a modulating, European tonal world that comes together in a tight rush towards the finale. However, the music escapes from this tight grip and A Light Hour ends freely fantasizing with a collective improvisation over different motifs from the work.