TIDSRUM (SPACES OF TIME) (1991)

Tilbage til værkfortegnelsen

For symfoniorkester med obligat klaver.

Komponeret til Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra og dir. Kazufumi Yamashita.

Varighed: 20’

Værknummer: 258


VÆRKNOTE: TIDSRUM (SPACES OF TIME) for orkester med obligat klaver (1991).

Som man i et større bygningsværk kan bevæge sig fra rum til rum, således bliver man i et musikværk ført fra et tidsrum til et andet, når de musikalske omstændigheder skifter, en ny klangverden åbner sig, et nyt motiv folder sig ud osv. Betragtet således kan et hvilketsomhelst musikværk kaldes “tidsrum”. Når jeg har tituleret mit seneste – 20 minutter lange, énsatsede – orkesterværk med denne tilsyneladende intetsigende betegnelse er det fordi den under kompositionsprocessen konstant meldte sig som titlen: årsagerne hertil er flere og skal så kort som muligt forsøges beskrevet i det følgende.

Som sagt vil enhver sammensat musikform kunne kaldes tidsrum (flertal), og dette gælder f.eks. sonateformens arkitektoniske satsfølge og -opbygning eller variationsformen, for nu at nævne nogle oplagte typer. Derimod vil kontinuerligt strømmende musikstykker som f.eks. en fuga eller et præludium (a la Bachs berømte i C-dur fra Wohltemporiertes Klavier) vanskeligere kunne opfattes som sammensat af flere “rum”, selvom der ofte er visse indre skel, dannet f.eks. af toneartsskift.

Orkesterværket “Tidsrum” (Spaces of Time) indtager her en tredie position, eftersom det har det markant sektions-opdelte til fælles med f.eks. sonaten, suiten eller variationsrækken, men på den anden side har det udpræget strømmende til fælles med f.eks. fugaen. Dette paradoks peger på de centrale i værket, nemlig at det bevarer kontinuerlig udvikling samtidig med at der herunder med markant tydelighed fokuseres på en anden side af den musikalske beretning.

Således gennemsyres værket af stigende skala-bevægelser, men skalaerne kan have tonetrin så små som kvarttoner eller så store som halve oktaver eller større. Ved at skifte om til en anden skalaform åbner værket for et nyt “tidsrum” – men dette kan også ske ved at tempoforholdene radikalt ændres – eller ved at pianisten drager al opmærksomhed til sig. Tidsrummene kan altså opfattes som vekslende perspektiver – nær på, i middelafstand eller i stor fjernhed. Et supertydeligt, prangende tema danner herved en slags “nærbillede”, mens puslende, raslende tonemønstre kan associere til større afstande – som bevægelserne i løvværk der bliver til kollektive bølgemønstre.

Værket er komponeret på bestilling af ledelsen af Suntory Hall i Tokyo (med Toro Takemitsu som kunstnerisk rådgiver). Uropførelsen fandt sted i Suntory Hall i oktober 1991 med Aki Takahashi ved klaveret og Kazufumi Yamashita som dirigent for Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra.

Per Nørgård (1991)

PROGRAMME NOTE: SPACES OF TIME (1991) for orchestra with obligate piano.

“Spaces of time” is a 20-minute long one-movement orchestral piece “with piano”, signifying that the piano not only, as in my other orchestra works, is part of the ensemble, but also, in a major passage, attracts almost all attention. This passage is only one of the ´spaces of time´ – spaces which give the work its title and represent individual musical perspectives.

As one can move from one room to another in a large building, in a piece of music one can be led from one unit of time to another as the musical events change and a new sound-world opens up, a new motive unfolds etc. In this light, every piece of music can be seen as a "space in time". If I have given my latest orchestra work a seemingly vague title, it is because this title kept constantly turning up in my thoughts during the compositional process. This had many reasons, which I now would like to explain as briefly as possible. As mentioned, every cohesive piece of music can be seen as a "space in time"; this is valid for architectural sequences of movements as well as for the structure of a Sonata or for Variations, to mention some familiar types of form. On the contrary, continually flowing pieces of music, for example Fugues or Preludes (e.g. Bach's famous C-major Prelude from the Well-Tempered Piano , Vol. I), are difficult to perceive as being built from cohesive time-spaces, in spite of some of their internally-set boundaries, e.g. modulations.

“Spaces of Time” takes a third standpoint here since its clearly-sectioned character has something in common with the sonata form, or the suite, or variations, whereas a continual stream is inherent to it, as in a fugue for example. This paradox is central to the work, namely the preservation of the continual development while the strongly focused character simultaneously shows another side of the musical narrative. Thus the work is permeated with upwards-striving scale movement, but the scales can consist of quarter-tones or of half-octaves or greater intervals still. Through the change in scale-form, a new time-space is opened – but this can also happen through a radical change of tempo or by the piano capturing the listener's attention. The time-spaces can also be perceived as changing perspectives – close, far away, or in between. An exaggeratedly clear, showy theme seems like a close-up, rustling tone-figures create a distance – like the moving of branches which accumulatively develop into wave patterns.

“Spaces of Time” was commissioned by “Suntory Hall” in 1990-91 (artistic director Toro Takemitsu) in October 1991 with Aki Takahashi (piano), Kazufumi Yamashita (conductor) and Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra.

Per Nørgård (1991)

- alternative version (in English only):

“Spaces of time” is a 20-minute long one-movement orchestral piece “with piano”, signifying that the piano not only, as in my other orchestra works, is part of the ensemble, but also, in a major passage, attracts almost all attention. This passage is only one of the ´spaces of time´ – spaces which give the work its title and represent individual musical perspectives.Relations of tempo and scale characterize such a space (besides the mentioned “piano-concerto” or other instrumental features), and in this way associate with, say, a small room – with close-ups of the musical objects – or perhaps to an infinitely great space – a cosmic one, where all is far away and vibrating.One motive, marked mainly by ascending stepwise movement, unifies the spaces, but the very varied scales may let the outlines of the motive change between say, 1/4-tone steps, 1/2-tone steps, diatonic and other scale steps up to such ambient steps that each one comprises almost a third of the total orchestral range. Very often 2 scales are woven together in a way that lets the “hidden tone” inside a major step in one of the scales become a part of the other scale. By dynamic means one scale may be highlighted as a “figure”, the other one as a “ground” in one passage – and vice versa. In this way a 12-tone chromatic scale may as well contain a Japanese 5-tone scale as a European 7-tone scale. In the final “space” the tones literally take leave of the listeners – by streaming down – as water sucked down into the ground by gravity – into the bass octaves and – into silence.SPACES OF TIME was commissioned by “Suntory Hall” in 1990-91 (artistic director Toro Takemitsu) in October 1991 with Aki Takahashi (piano), Kazufumi Yamashita (conductor) and Tokyo Metropolitan Orchestra.

Per Nørgård (1991)