This is the Study Score edition of Per Nørgård's String Quartet No.8 'Night Descending'.
This piece is based on 5 sections from my chamber opera Nuit des homme where a string quartet is the leading instrumental ensemble. Even though the subject is The Great War (1st World War), the plot is on a psychological level and follows the development of a couple - in poems of Guillaume Apollinaire. The couple's war enthusiasm in the beginning is replaced by horror and in the end dehumanizing. The five movements of the quartet express phases in this process: from the Eulogy of the prologue, praise of the The Sun of Gold above the human animal - a rhythmic, tense, and still more and more militaristic movement - to The Journey, whose enlargement of conscience due to the exhausting tempo of the new era is suddenly stopped in the fourth movement carrying the title of the piece and expressing the calm before storm, not as a blessing of peace, but as a latent anxiety. In the epilogue of the fifth movement the theme of the prologue reappears, but it is changed from hymn to elegy. The quartet is dedicated to the Zapolsky Quartet, who took part in the world premiere of the opera in September 1996.
Per Nørgård 1997