TREPARTITA (1988)

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For orgel.

Komponeret til og tilegnet Jens E. Christensen.

Varighed: 17’

Værknummer: 242


VÆRKNOTE: TREPARTITA (1987-88) for orgel.

I. Requiem Steps Descending

II. Polyhymnia

III. Requiem Steps Ascending

Mine tre store orgelværker er blevet til med næsten lige store tidsintervaller: ”Partita Concertante” 1958, ”Canon” 1971 og Trepartita1987. De er derved indbyrdes meget forskellige og udtrykker hver for sig det karakteristiske i tilblivelsesperioden; således er ”Partita Concertante” – hvad melodik og harmonik angår – typisk for min “nordisk inspirerede” 1950er-musik (hvorimod det rytmiske er barokpræget, men i sin vildtvoksende polyfoni peger fremover mod den krise o. 1960, der markerede modernismens indbrud).

”Canon” er allerede hinsides 1960ernes heftige eksperimenteren og nærmest lagt an på en klassisk syntese af de “holdbare kriterier”, jeg var nået frem til og som udfoldelsesmæssigt kulminerede i min ”Symfoni nr. 3”(1972-75). I ”Canon” gennemføres en systematisk “fejring” af tidløse tone- og rytmeorganisationer: 7 cykler, hver underdelt i 8 faser.

”Trepartita ” befinder sig et helt tredie sted, men kan dog erindre om de to tidligere værker, fx i det “vildtvoksende” liniespil i ”Partita concertante” og i anvendelsen af den melodiskabende teknik kaldet ´uendelighedsrække´, som jeg fandt frem til i 1960 og som gennemsyrede ”Canon” fra først til sidst.

Da organisten Jens E. Christensen opfordrede mig til at skrive et større orgelværk, var jeg allerede med tankerne langt inde i min ”Symfoni nr. 5” (uropført i 1990) – så min reaktion var henholdende, for ikke at sige ret afvisende.

Dog ikke helt afvisende, eftersom min kompositoriske erfaring havde belært mig om, at uventede impulser kan dukke op, når intensiteten hos bestilleren modsvares af opgavens relevans for min hoved-opgave (i dette tilfælde symfonien). Symfoniens tætte spind af tretone-motiver, af nærmest “fraktal” natur (dvs. med lag-i-lag, uendelighedsorienterede – igen!) udfordrede mig ti let særligt dyk ned i 3-verdenen´s hemmeligheder.

Det er jo næppe tilfældigt, at store religiøse og filosofiske systemer verden over netop er knyttet til tre-tallet: bortset fra det gyldne snits intime tilknytning til treheden (som vist), er det en sjældent indset kendsgerning, at tre-rytmen (fx i valsen) baserer sig på ”det højeste tal, der ikke spontant underdeler sig i mindre grupper!” (Derpå: tallet 4 underdelt i 2+2, tallet 5 i 2+3, eller i 3+2, – osv.).

Man kan opfatte dette som en trivialitet, men ikke hvis “man” er mig, en komponist der har gjort det til sit motto, som den engelske biolog Whyte udtalte i en videnskabelig sammenhæng: “De mest indlysende kendsgerninger vil ofte være de mest frugtbare felter for undersøgelse.”

Den særprægede, strømmende sammenhæng der altså udgår fra denne u-underdelelige tre-hed gennemsyrer hele ”Trepartita”: I alle (tre) satser er der tre stemmer, der hver strømmer i tre-takt, men således relaterede, at deres tempi indbyrdes er proportionerede udfra ”det gyldne snit” (fx 3 : 5 : 8). De gennemgribende tempoændringer i 1. og 3. sats opstår på basis af hhv. konstant tempofald og tempostigning (ritardando og accelerando), uden at de derved uundgåeligt opståede spredninger og fortætninger ændrer ved den grundlæggende “gyldne” relation.

Der en intim forbindelse mellem de omtalte rytmiske detailler og stykkets udtryk. 1. sats´ ”Requiem Steps Descending” modsvarer (som en trappe ned til dødens flod) det aftagende tempo, og 3. sats´ ”Requiem Steps Ascending” (som en slags ´Himmelstige´) sjælens befrielse fra det jordiske åg...

Midtersatsen ”Polyhymnia”er(ved sit stabile tempo) “centret mellem jord og himmel”, hvor de tre stemmer konstant fletter sig ind i hinanden og illuderer nye melodier (“mange hymner”) – der, som et Mayas Slør, antyder det jordiske krible-krable som blot en “fraktal udspredning” af grundlæggende, evige, kosmiske faktorer.

Tiden er ikke en flod, men mange samtidige bevægelser – eller måske: ét eneste, mange-dimensionalt, øjeblik?

”Trepartita” blev komponeret i 1987-88 og uropført af Jens E. Christensen i Vor Frelsers Kirke i København d. 17/11 1988.

Per Nørgård (1992)

Note: Introduktionen (fra ” Mine tre store orgelværker..” til ”…først til sidst”) kan bruges eller udelades efter ønske.

PROGRAMME NOTE: TREPARTITA – for organ (1988)

My three large organ works were composed at regular intervals: “Partita concertante” in 1958, “Canon” in 1971 and “Trepartita” in 1988. They are all very different but do express the characteristics of each period. The melody and harmony of the “Partita concertante” is typical of my ‘Nordic’ music of the fifties (whereas the rhythm has a baroque character and its overgrown polyphony points towards the crisis about 1960, indicating the breakthrough of Modernism). “Canon” is already beyond the intense experiments of the 1960s and is practically based upon a classical synthesis of ‘valid criteria’ which I had then achieved and which were displayed in my Symphony no. 3 from 1975 as a climax. In “Canon” a systematical ‘celebration’ of timeless organizations of tone and rhythm is carried through in 7 cycles, each divided in 8 phases. “Trepartita” is situated at quite a different place yet it may have some resemblance to the two earlier works, for instance the ‘overgrown’ counterpoint in “Partita concertante” and as to the use of the melodically technique called ‘infinity-row’ which I had found in 1960 and which imbued “Canon” from its beginning to its end.

The titles of the three movements in “Trepartita”:

1. Requiem Steps Descending

2. Polyhymnia

3. Requiem Steps Ascending

When Jens E. Christensen in 1987 invited me to write a new large organ work, Iwas already mentally in the midst of the composition of my Symphony no. 5 (premiered in 1990) – so my reaction was at first reluctant if not rather deprecatory.

However not completely, as my experience as a composer had taught me that unexpected impulses may appear, when the intensity of the initiator corresponds with the relevance to the main enterprise (in this case the symphony). The dense web of tone-motives in the symphony, of almost fractional nature (that is: with stratification directed towards infinity – again!) challenged me to dive specifically into the secrets of the universe of ‘3’. It is hardly by coincidence that great religious and philosophical systems all over the world are attached to the number 3. Besides the intimate relation of the ‘golden section’ to ‘trinity’ (as already described) it is an ignored fact, that the triple rhythm (i. e. in the waltz) is based on the highest number that cannot be spontaneously subdivided into smaller groups! (After 3 comes 4 =2 plus 2; then 5 = 2 plus 3 or 3 plus 2, etc.). This may be regarded as commonplace, but not for a composer like me that has adopted the statement of the English biologist Whyte from a scientific context, to be my motto: “The most obvious facts will often be the most fertile fields for investigation.” The peculiar, streaming coherence originating from this non-subdivisible trinity imbues the whole “Trepartita”; in all 3 movements there are 3 voices streaming in triple meter, related in such a way that their tempos mutually have a ‘golden’ proportion: 3 – 58. The radical changes of tempo in the 1st and 3rd movement occur respectively by means of constant decrease and increase of tempo (ritardando and accelerando) without the basic ‘golden’ relation being changed by the inevitable diffusion and condensation When the tempo decreases – and there would be ‘too much’ space between the notes – new notes are ‘born’, so that the tempo: ‘3’ that would otherwise become too slow, returns as the quickest (multiplied by 4 = ‘12’).

In the same way when the tempo increases – and the notes would be ´too close´ to each other, so that the music becomes as impossible to play as to understand, too compressed – only a quarter of the notes remains in the fastest stratum (´8´), so that this fast part now becomes the slowest.

Thus in spite of constant change of tempo in the outer movements, a constant proportion of durations is maintained, because new notes always ´appear´ and ´disappear´ behind the time-horizon.

Movement 1: (ritardando): 3-5-8 > 5-8-12-> 8-12-20 etc.

Movement 3: (accelerando): (3-5-8) = 12-20-32-> 8-12-20 ->5-8-12 etc.

For me the technical and emotional dimensions merge into each other that it would, at any rate in me, that it would be rather artificial only to express myself ´generally´. Most people know the idea of acceleration, for instance; they also know about numeral proportions and different rhythms in their lives, etc. In short: technical/emotional and professional/general are artificial discriminations. There is an intimate connection between the mentioned rhythmical details and the expression of the piece.

The first movement, “Requiem steps descending” is characterized by the decreasing tempo – like steps down to the river of death; on the contrary the increasing tempo imbues the 3rd movement, “Requiem Steps Ascending” – like Jacob´s ladder to heaven, the liberation of the soul from the mortal yoke…

The middle movement, “Polyhymnia”, with its stable tempo is ´the centre between earth and heaven´, where 3 voices are constantly interwoven and thus creating new melodies – ´many hymns´ – which like “Maya´s Veil of Illusion” suggests that the worldly crawling and creeping is only a ´fractional´ display of some basic, eternal factors…

In my three large organ works, “Partita concertante” (1958), “Canon” (1970-71) and “Trepartita” (1987-88) there is a common, spiritual attitude towards time and movement: Time is not one river, but many simultaneous movements – or perhaps like one single multidimensional moment?

”Trepartita” was composed 1987-88 and was premiered by Jens E. Christensen i Vor Frelsers Kirke i København on the 17th of November 1988.

Per Nørgård (1991)

Note: The introduction (from ”My three large..” to “ …to its end”) may be used or not used, ad libitum.