Per Norgård

Biography

Born: July 13, 1932; Gentofte, Denmark  
Per Nørgård (pronounced "Pair Ner-gore") has emerged as perhaps the most important Danish composer since Nielsen. His music has paralleled and contributed to avant-garde developments in European music since the 1950s, evolving from a Nordic Romanticism derived from Vagn Holmboe and Jean Sibelius, through a short period in the later 1950s when he used collage and other then-fashionable techniques, into a period in the 1960s and 1970s during which Read more Nørgård invented the forward-looking "infinity row." He became a professor of music at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus in 1965, and has been influential as a teacher; through the work of his students (Hans Abrahamsen is perhaps the most famous), Nørgård inspired the Danish "New Simplicity" movement in the 1960s. Since the late 1970s, Nørgård has been inspired by the writings and drawings of the troubled Swiss artist Adolf Wölfli (d. 1930). Nørgård is extremely prolific and has written in every genre, from the major classical forms to amateur choral music.

Nørgård studied theory, music history, and composition at the Royal Danish Conservatory from 1952 to 1955, and continued his composition studies in Paris with Nadia Boulanger in 1956 and 1957. His early music shows the strong influence of the Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, and especially of Sibelius' characteristic working-out of motives. The Symphony No. 1 and Constellations are highlights of this period. After brief experiments with collage in the later 1950s, Nørgård in 1960 developed the infinity row, a way of generating a constantly expanding melody from an initial two-note motive. Infinity row melodies are self-similar (for example, the second, third, and fourth pitches return as the fifth, ninth, and thirteenth pitches), and Nørgård uses self-similarity to create a hierarchical structure: a piece may be divided into four large sections of 1024 notes each, then into sections of 256 notes, and so on. Nørgård's early pieces using the infinity row (such as Voyage Through the Golden Screen are essentially orchestrations of an infinity row melody. However, in later pieces, Nørgård extended the technique to generate harmony as well.

Nørgård abruptly changed direction in the late 1970s under the influence of the writings, paintings, and musical ideas of Wölfli, who spent the last 35 years of his life in a Swiss asylum. One of the first results was the Symphony No. 4: Indischer Roosengaarten und Chineesischer Hexensee ("Indian Rose-Garden and Chinese Witch-Sea" -- Wölfli was fond of doubling vowels). Though Nørgård continued to use the infinity row, his obsession with Wölfli has to some extent colored all his works since 1980. The Wölfli music, in contrast to the slowly changing textures of Nørgård's earlier infinity row music, is marked, in the terms Nørgård has used to describe Wölfli's art, by abrupt shifts "between idyll and catastrophe."

In the 1990s, Nørgård explored the idea of interference (the pattern that results when two or more regular patterns are played together or otherwise combined) through the use of thickly layered rhythmic and melodic patterns. This period has also been marked by the writing of many concertos, from works for each of the main stringed instruments to the Concerto in Due Tempi (1996) for piano and orchestra, and Bach to the Future (1997) for percussion and orchestra. In 1996, the premiere of Nuit des hommes, an hour-long "opera(torium)" based on poems by Apollinaire, marked an attempt to create a new kind of opera, without dramatic tension. The work exemplified the two forces which have driven Nørgård's music: a use of very eclectic sources (from Babylonian myth in the ritualistic opera Gilgamesh (1972) to the Beatles, in Doing (1968)), and a need for constant self-reinvention. Read less
Browse 1-25 of 34 Available Recordings
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  • 1.
    Timepieces / Elysian Singers
    Label: Meridian Records   Catalog: 84627 Release Date: 07/10/2015   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ian Stephens,  David Lumsdaine,  Philip Glass,  Philip Stopford  ... 
    Conductor:  Sam Laughton
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Elysian Singers
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  • 2.
    Per Norgard: Symphonies 1 & 8
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 220574 Release Date: 06/10/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Per Norgård
    Conductor:  Sakari Oramo
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
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  • 3.
    Robert Schumann, Per Norgard
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 741 Release Date: 04/08/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Robert Schumann,  Per Norgård
    Performer:  Katrine Gislinge
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  • 4.
    Through The Looking Glass / Alpha
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 8226579 Release Date: 01/28/2014   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Poul Ruders,  Per Norgård,  Hans Abrahamsen,  Bent Sorensen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alpha (Ensemble)
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  • 5.
    Phantasmagoria: Danish Piano Trios
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 8226108 Release Date: 05/28/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bent Sorensen,  Hans Abrahamsen,  Per Norgård
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Trio Con Brio Copenhagen
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  • 6.
    Per Norgard: Songs From Evening Land
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 8226060 Release Date: 01/29/2013   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Per Norgård
    Performer:  Toke Moldrup,  Helene Gjerris,  Ulla Miilmann,  Jesper Lützhøft  ... 
    Conductor:  Casper Schreiber
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  • 7.
    Momentum - Nordic Cello Concertos
    Label: Norway Music   Catalog: 5075 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Arne Nordheim,  Kaija Saariaho,  Per Norgård
    Performer:  Jakob Kullberg
    Conductor:  Szymon Bywalec
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  • 8.
    Per Norgard: Libra / Malmberg, Danish National Vocal Ensemble
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 6220622 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Per Norgård
    Performer:  Adam Riis,  Stefan Östersjö
    Conductor:  Fredrik Malmberg
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Vocal Ensemble
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  • 9.
    Secret Memories
    Label: Simax   Catalog: 1324 Release Date: 09/25/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Lera Auerbach,  Teppo Hauta-Aho,  György Kurtág,  Olav Anton Thommessen  ... 
    Performer:  Dan Styffe,  Peter Herresthal
    Conductor:  Jukka-Pekka Saraste
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  • 10.
    Norgard: Sceneries For Percussion & Ensemble / Sundkvist, Martinez, Esbjerg Ensemble
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 8226092 Release Date: 08/28/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Per Norgård
    Performer:  Christian Martinez
    Conductor:  Petter Sundkvist
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Esbjerg Ensemble
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  • 11.
    Electronic Music Produced At Diem, 1987-2012
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 8226559 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Anker Fjeld Simonsen,  Jonas R. Kirkegaard,  Daniel Rothman,  Ane Ostergaard  ... 
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Electronic Media
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  • 12.
    Norgard: Will-o'-the-Wisps In Town; Out Of The Cradle Endlessly Rocking / Gjerris, Athelas Sinfonietta
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 8226085 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Per Norgård
    Performer:  Helene Gjerris
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Athelas Sinfonietta
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  • 13.
    Perkin' At Merkin
    Label: Mode   Catalog: 25 Release Date: 07/31/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Iannis Xenakis,  Recorded Sound,  Morton Feldman,  Nils Vigeland  ... 
    Performer:  Michael Pugliese,  Jan Williams,  William Trigg,  Kory Grossman  ... 
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  • 14.
    Be It So: Music For Voice & Organ
    Label: Point Classics   Catalog: 5171 Release Date: 07/10/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Leif Kayser,  Sven Erik Werner,  Michael Radulescu,  Bent Sorensen  ... 
    Performer:  Jens E. Christensen,  Pia Hansen
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  • 15.
    Ole Schmidt, Anders Koppel, Martin Lohse, Per Norgard: Accordion Concertos
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 6220592 Release Date: 04/24/2012   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Ole Schmidt,  Anders Koppel,  Martin Lohse,  Per Norgård
    Performer:  Bjarke Mogensen
    Conductor:  Rolf Gupta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Chamber Orchestra
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  • 16.
    Norgard: Violin Concertos No 1 & 2 / Herresthal, Gupta, Stavanger SO
    Label: Bis   Catalog: 1872 Release Date: 12/13/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Per Norgård
    Performer:  Peter Herresthal,  Ida Mo
    Conductor:  Rolf Gupta
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stavanger Symphony Orchestra
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  • 17.
    Label: Caprice Records   Catalog: 22064 Release Date: 09/27/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Per Norgård
    Performer:  Stefan Östersjö
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  • 18.
    Spirales: Snapshots Of Contemporary Classical Music
    Label: Membran / Scandinavian Classics   Catalog: 233317 Release Date: 08/30/2011   Number of Discs: 10
    Composer:  Niels Viggo Bentzon,  Peter Moller,  Thomas Koppel,  Ole Schmidt  ... 
    Performer:  Niels-Ole Bo Johansen,  Jakob Heiding,  Martin Schuster,  Erik Kaltoft  ... 
    Conductor:  Flemming Windekilde,  Mogens Andresen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Duo Takemitsu,  Musica Mirabilis,  Jalina Trio
    CD: $48.99
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  • 19.
    The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell
    Label: Gramola   Catalog: 98913 Release Date: 07/12/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Bo Holten,  Johannes Brahms,  Anton Bruckner,  Arnold Schoenberg  ... 
    Performer:  Florian Ehrlinger,  Theresa Dlouhy,  Katrin Kriegl,  Barbara Achammer  ... 
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  • 20.
    On The Nature Of...
    Label: Equilibrium   Catalog: 99 Release Date: 06/14/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Toshi Ichiyanagi,  Anthony di Sanza,  Per Norgård,  Jacob Druckman
    Performer:  Anthony di Sanza,  Cindy Terhune,  Jamie V. Ryan,  Jason Richins  ... 
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  • 21.
    Hymn To The Sun - Danish Works For Choir
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 8226051 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Bruun,  Vagn Holmboe,  Bo Holten,  Jorgen Jersild  ... 
    Conductor:  Søren Kinch Hansen
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Danish National Vocal Ensemble
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  • 22.
    Kind / Ensemble 96 [Hybrid SACD + Blu-ray Audio]
    Label: Two-l   Catalog: 76 Release Date: 01/25/2011   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Traditional,  Jaakko Mantyjarvi,  Per Norgård,  Marcus Paus
    Conductor:  Kjetil Almenning
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble 96,  Nidaros String Quartet
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  • 23.
    Tangos For Piano
    Label: Ravello   Catalog: 7808 Release Date: 10/26/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Igor Stravinsky,  David Smooke,  Ralph Shapey,  David Rakowski  ... 
    Performer:  Amy Briggs
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  • 24.
    Alle Elsker Forar (Everyone Loves The Spring)
    Label: Danacord   Catalog: 684 Release Date: 08/10/2010   Number of Discs: 1
    Composer:  Peter Bruun,  Edina Hadziselimovic,  Bent Sorensen,  Ivar Frounberg  ... 
    Performer:  Marianne Lund,  Karolina Leedo,  Jesper Lützhøft,  Maria Boelskov Sorensen  ... 
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  • 25.
    Norgard: Der Gottliche Tivoli (The Divine Circus) / Keilhack, Stadttheater Bern
    Label: Dacapo   Catalog: 6220572-73 Release Date: 02/23/2010   Number of Discs: 2
    Composer:  Per Norgård
    Performer:  Adrian Schild,  Matthias Kuhn,  Hubert Wild,  Steffen Kubach  ... 
    Conductor:  Dorian Keilhack
    Orchestra/Ensemble:  Stadttheater Bern
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Per Norgård


MOST POPULAR WORKS
WORKS
I. Allegro moderato
II. Adagio
III. Allegro leggero
IV. Poco allegro
I. Moderato
II. Lento, quieto e quasi semplice
III. Andantino semplice
I. Adagio con asffetto -
II. Presto, molto leggiero
I. Tempo moderato
II. Calmo, molto affettuoso
III. Allegro impetuoso
I. Tempo giusto - Poco allegro, molto distinto
II. Adagio molto
III. Piu mosso - Lento visionario