NINE FRIENDS (1984)

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“A Book of Characters”, for accordion (or piano).

1. Secret One (Lars)

2. Secret – Too (Helle)

3. Opening One (Pia)

4. Tiny (Lasse)

5. Illusive (Per)

6. Big Brother (Mogens)

7. Onwards (Jeanette)

8. Opening, Too (Herman)

9. Three-faced Goddess (Dinna)

Note: fra suiten NINE FRIENDS kan flg. tre kortere suiter opføres særskilt:

Suite 1: Unfolding (Secret One, Opening One, Onwards, Three-faced Goddess)

Suite 2: Facets (Tiny, Illusive, Big Brother, – samt ad lib: Illusive, Tiny (no rep.))

Suite 3: Streams (Secret – Too, Opening One)

Til ni venner (To nine friends)

Varighed: 21’

Værknummer: 218a


VÆRKNOTE: NINE FRIENDS for accordeon (eller for klaver) – (1984)

I den ni-satsede suite Nine Friends – “A Book of Characters” (Ni Venner – “Karakter-bog”) fra 1984 udfoldes en enkel, dansant melodi, oprindelig komponeret til et digt af Inger Christensen (fra digtsamlingen “Brev i april”, 1979):

Hvem ved

om granatæblet

ved med sig selv,

at det hedder

noget andet.

Hvem ved

om jeg selv

måske hedder

noget andet

end mig selv.

I ”Nine Friends dukker melodien op i fire af satserne, hver gang let forandret eller i nye omgivelser.

Suiten er progressivt formet, bevægende sig fra største enkelhed til de senere stykkers nærmest virtuose anlæg. Hver sats har en tilegnelse, til – ja, en ven, eller veninde. Da alle kun er betegnet ved fornavn bliver suiten i den forbindelse en beskeden, humoristisk dansk lillebror til Elgars storslåede “Enigma”-variationer (hvis tilegnede venner på samme vis var halvt anonymiserede, og derved har udfordret til eftertidens gætterier om, hvem der mon dækker sig under hint fornavn). Et par melodier – eller tre – genkommer undervejs, men altså i stadig mere krævende udformninger: nr. 1, 3, 7 og 9 har således en danseagtig, ørehængende melodi som gennemgående tema, mens tværtimod nr. 4 og 5 har en meget undvigende melodi (skal den opfattes to- eller tre-delt? Og hvornår hvad?). Nr. 2 og 8 har fælles en kromatisk, faldende melodi (der også indgik i instrumentalværkerne “Prelude to Breaking” og “Burn”, samt i korværket “Jeg hører regnen” fra 1980erne). En enkelt sats, nr. 6, adskiller sig fra de øvrige ved sit – kun i denne sats præsenterede – pågående-energiske hovedtema: Big Brother.

1. Secret One (to Lars) – 1.Hemmelighedsfuld (Lars)

2. Secret – Too (to Helle) – 2. En hemmelighed til (Helle)

3. Opening One (to Pia) – 3. Ouverture nr. 1 (Pia)

4. Tiny (to Lasse)- 4. Lille (Lasse)

5. Illusive (to Per)– 5. Undvigende (Per)

6. Big Brother (to Mogens) – 6. Big Brother (Mogens)

7. Onwards (to Jeanette) – 7. Fremad (Jeanette)

8. Opening, too (to Herman) – 8. En ouverture til (Herman)

9. Three-faced Goddess (to Dinna) – 9. Den trehovedede Gudinde (Dinna)

Nine Friends eksisterer i versioner for henholdsvis accordeon og for klaver, samt i en kammerversion for 9 instrumenter (ved Søren Birch, 2010) – for blæserkvintet, klaver of strygetrio. Klaverversionen uropførtes af pianisten og komponisten Herman D. Koppel (1908-1998), min klaverlærer i studietiden.

Nine Friends kan, udover den samlede opførelse, underdeles i følgende 3 suiter:

1. Unfolding (Secret one, Opening one, Onwards, Three-faced Goddess) – from “Nine Friends” (1984)

2. Facets (Tiny, Illusive, Big Brother, – and , ad lib: Illusive, Tiny (no rep.)) – from “Nine Friends” (1984)

3. Streams (Secret – too, Opening one) – from “Nine Friends” (1984)

Per Nørgård

Note: Værknotens sidste afsnit, om de tre kortere suiter, kan bruges elles udelades ad lib..

PROGRAMME NOTE: NINE FRIENDS (A Book of Characters") – for accordion (or piano)

In Nine Friends (1984) a simpel, dancing melody is developed, originally composed to a poem by the Danish poet Inger Christensen (1935-2009) – from her collection "Letter in April" (1979):

“Who knows

if the pomegranate

knows, deep down,

that it has a

different name.

Who knows

if maybe

I too have a

name that is

different from me.”

In Nine Friends, the song theme appears in four of the movements, each time slightly

altered or in new surroundings – musical variations related to the spiral in which the

poem moves.

“Nine Friends is a progressive suite – moving from the utmost simplicity to the later section’s almost virtuoso potential. Each movement has an inscription to – yes, a friend, man or woman. Since everyone is only designated by the first name, the suite becomes, in that connection, a modest, humoristic Danish little brother to Elgar’s magnificent “Enigma” Variations (whose dedicatees in the same manner were half-anonymized, thereby provoking posterity’s guessing: I wonder who’s hiding behind that first name?)

A couple of melodies – or three – reappear along the way, but in constantly

more demanding presentations. Nos. 1, 3, 7 and 9, in that manner, have a dance-like catchy melody as a theme throughout, while nos. 4 and 5 on the contrary have a very evasive melody (should it be perceived as being in two or three part time? And when which?)

Nos. 2 and 8 have a common chromatic, descending melody (also integrated into the instrumental works "Prelude to Breaking" and "Burn", as well as into the choir piece "I Hear the Rain" from the 1980s).

A single movement, no. 6, separates itself from the rest with a main theme presented in this movement alone. It is a brashly energetic theme: Big Brother.”

1. Secret One (to Lars)

2. Secret – Too (to Helle)

3. Opening One (to Pia)

4. Tiny (to Lasse)

5. Illusive (to Per)

6. Big Brother (to Mogens)

7. Onwards (to Jeanette)

8. Opening, Too (to Herman)

9. Three-faced Goddess (to Dinna)

Nine Friends exists in versions for accordion and for piano respectively, and in a version for nine instruments by Søren Birch from 2010.The piano version was premiered by the pianist and composer Herman D. Koppel (1908-1998), my piano teacher in the early 1950s at the Royal Danish Conservatory of Music.

Nine Friends may be divided and performed as 3 shorter suites, with the following titles:

1. Unfolding (Secret one, Opening One, Onwards, Three-faced Goddess) – from “Nine Friends”.

2. Facets (Tiny, Illusive, Big Brother, – and , ad lib: Illusive, Tiny (no rep.)) – from “Nine Friends”.

3. Streams (Secret – too, Opening one) – from “Nine Friends”.

Per Nørgård

Note: The last section, about the shorter suites, can be used or deleted ad libitum.