PASTORALE – FRA BABETTES GÆSTEBUD (1987)

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For strygetrio (eller strygeorkester).

Fra filmen BABETTES GÆSTEBUD (af Gabriel Axel).

Varighed: 7’

Værknummer: 235b


VÆRKNOTE: PASTORALE – fra “Babette´s Gæstebud” (1987), for strygetrio (eller stygeorkester)

Pastorale er melodisk enkel, for ikke at sige iørefaldende. Melodien stammer fra min salmemelodi "Jesusalem", som præger meget af min musik til Gabriel Axel´s Oscar-vindende film "Babette´s Gæstebud" (Bedste Udenlandske Film 1987), en film som er baseret på en novelle af Karen Blixen. Det er historien om to søstre, som er medlemmer af en meget puritansk menighed, men som alligevel beslutter sig til at afholde gilde og feste med jordiske (gastronomiske) lyksaligheder. Pastoralen høres under dette måltid.

Under den sangbare overflade i Pastoralen gemme sig metriske tvetydigheder, idet skift mellem betonet og ubetonet takt tvinger øret til at opfatte fraser som værende skiftevist på-slaget og ved-siden-af-slaget. Denne tvetydighed og svæven luller tilhøreren ind i en pastoral enkelheds paradisiske univers, hvilket stemmer overens med ånden hos gæsterne ved banketten hos Blixens to søstre i filmens centrale scene.

Den originale Pastorale er for strygetrio (1987); versionen for strygeorkester kom til i 1988 og blev uropført i New Yourk City samme år.

Per Nørgård

PROGRAMME NOTE: PASTORALE – from “Babette´s feast” (1988), for string trio (or string ensemble)

The spectrum of sound, the gesticulation – in short, the very nature of the strings – has always had a central place in my output, demonstrated by the numbers of string quartets, concertos with string soloist, chamber and solo works. The interest dates back to my school years, when I was fortunate to be able to compose for a cello-playing schoolmate and to accompany him on the piano. I discovered then the innumerable nuances of sound and playing varieties offered by just one bow, four strings and five fingers…

"Pastorale" is melodically utterly simple, almost "ear-catching". The simplicity stems from my hymn-tune "Jerusalem", the theme of which permeates my incidental music for the Oscar-winning film (Best Foreign Film 1987), “Babettes Feast”, by Danish director Gabriel Axel. The film is based on a short story by another renown Dane, Karen Blixen; it is the story of two sisters who are members of a very puritan congregation, but decide to have a big feast of earthly (gastronomic) delights; The Pastorale is heard during the sumptuous meal.

Below the song-like surface, though, the metrical implications are rather ambiguous. The changes between stressed and unstressed beats forces the ear to perceive a phrase as being on the beat at one moment and off the beat at the next moment. In this way, the simple lines of lyrical pastoral serenity conjure the listener to be lulled into an artificial Paradise which is exactly the mood of the guests at the banquet in the central scene of the movie, the feast itself, miraculously saturated with earthly delights normally unthinkable for a narrow congregation far from the Big World. The Pastorale was originally composed in 1987 for string trio. The string orchestra version was made in 1988 and premiered the same year in New York City.

Per Nørgård (1999)

Note: The introduction ("The spectrum of sound….five fingers…") to be used or not used, ad lib.