LAD KORTENE FORTÆLLE (TALES FROM A HAND) (1985/2001)

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Fire suiter for guitar solo.

Værket består af flg. fire suiter (Nr. 220, 292, 249, 336a):

1. Spar Konge, Dame og Es (In the Mood of Spades).

2. Hjerterdame-tur (The Queen of Hearts).

3. Kløvere imellem Jokere (Clubs among Jokers).

4. Da Ruder Konge var Knægt (Jack of Diamonds).

Tilegnet Erling Møldrup.

Varighed: 45´

Værknummer: 336b


VÆRKNOTE: LAD KORTENE FORTÆLLE (TALES FROM A HAND). Fire suiter for guitar solo.

Udgangspunktet for det store, firedelte guitarværk “Tales From a Hand” (”Lad kortene fortælle”) – bestående af fire suiter for guitar solo – er de fire spillekort, deres forskellige farver, symbolverdener, et udvalg af karakterernes indbyrdes styrke, associationer og stemninger. ”Tales From a Hand” er tilegnet guitaristen Erling Møldrup.

De fire suiters titler og kompositionsår er:

1. Spar Konge, Dame og Es (In the Mood of Spades) – 1985.

2. Hjerterdame-tur (The Queen of Hearts) – 1989.

3. Kløvere imellem Jokere (Clubs among Jokers) – 1995.

4. Da Ruder Konge var Knægt (Jack of Diamonds) – 2001.

Suite I, Spar Konge, Dame og Es (In the Mood of Spades). Her er det Spar der skildres. Tre stadier fra dunkelheden, mørkets og det dystres verden belyses. I første sats i form af “Kongen”, som er streng og selvhøjtidelig dyster. Andensatsens “Dronning” føler sig ikke hjemme i dette (alt for) maskuline element, hendes musik udtrykker blidhed, usikkerhed og sorg. Til sidst “Esset”, det sidste og mest ophøjede kort i rækken, der også udtrykker begyndelsens uskyld, der forener sig i en slags sanselig salme (eller måske “hellig vals”).

Suite II, Hjerterdame-tur (The Queen of Hearts). Hjerter symboliserer kærligheden. De to satser skildrer to sider af selveste Hjerter-Dame. Det kvindeligt æstetiske er udtrykt i en lidt skæv Sarabande (I. Høvisk dans (Courtly dance)) medens den anden side, den erotiske, udtrykkes i et motiv med 4 variationer (II. Uhøvisk motiv (Street-Dance)), under overfladen måske præget af nordisk folketone (?). Guitaren skal inden denne sats foretage en usædvanlig omstemning, den dybeste streng fra E til Cis. Dette giver instrumentet og musikken en helt anden klangfarve. Suiten er tilegnet min hustru Helle Rahbæk Nørgård.

I det følgende gengives værknoten til ”duo-versionen” af denne suite (II):

Suite II, Hjerter Dame-tur – med opvartning af cello.

Hjerter symboliserer kærligheden. De to satser skildrer to sider af selveste Hjerter-Dame. Det kvindeligt æstetiske er udtrykt i en lidt skæv Sarabande (I. Høvisk dans (Courtly dance)) medens den anden side, den erotiske, udtrykkes i et motiv med 4 variationer (II. Uhøvisk motiv (Street-Dance)), under overfladen måske præget af nordisk folketone (?). Guitaren skal inden denne sats foretage en usædvanlig omstemning, den dybeste streng fra E til Cis. Dette giver instrumentet og musikken en helt anden klangfarve. Suiten er tilegnet min hustru Helle Rahbæk Nørgård. Denne duo-version er komponeret til Erling Møldrup og Morten Zeuthen. Analogt med titlen er det muligt, som her, at udføre værket med ”opvartning” af en cello: Denne spiller udelukkende toner der indgår i guitarsoloen. Der er jo trods alt kun tale om ”opvartning”, ikke om konkurrence om opmærksomhed. Per Nørgård 2008Suite III, Klør blandt Jokere (Clubs Among Jokers) – er helliget den anden mørke kortfarve, Klør. De tre blade peger henimod det universelle treenigheds-symbol. De tre hovedsatser lader derfor udviklingen bevæge sig fra klør 1 til klør 3, fra énstemmig til trestemmig sats (alle med fuga-teknik). Det gennemgående tema er 3-delt og modsvarer kortets trekløversymbol.

I. Ubundet – klør 1 (Unbound – 1 of Clubs )

II. Første Cadence – en Joker (First Cadence – a Joker)

III. Forenet – klør 2 (United – 2 of Clubs)

IV. Anden Cadence – en Joker til (Second Cadence – another Joker)

V. Ophøjet – klør 3 (Exalted – 3 of Clubs)

Titlerne peger på tolkninger af henholdsvis enhed, komplementaritet (forening) og ophøjethed. At Klør 3 er “ophøjet” er forståeligt udfra, at der nu er tre gange tre kløverblade. Dette potensforhold spejler sig ud i en endeløs 3-dobling (3, 9, 27, 81-). Imellem de tre Klør-kort er placeret to “jokere”, udformede som kadencer med viltre indslag.

Suite IV, Da Ruder Konge var Knægt (Jack of Diamonds):

Værket er et billedgalleri, om en forfører (Jack, knægten), i 8 musikalske billeder.

1. billede er en præsentation: “I am Jack”, og musikken udfolder sig med stor selvtillid i en kompliceret og springfyrsagtig rytmeverden. (Billedet af Jack Nicholson´s Joker i Batman-filmen kan bruges om man vil).

2. billede “På sporet – I” (Promenade) : her er forføreren på sporet af sit bytte, con fuoco, som et rovdyr... 3. billede “Kom ud å´ leg!”: lokkende, børnesangsnaivt – men rovdyret ligger lige under overfladen klar til bid!

4. billede “Optøning af den sky pige”: poetisk og forførende. Han kan sit kram den gode Jack.

5. billede “På Sporet – II”: Promenaden (fra 2. billede) genkendes, men er let forandret: Der forberedes en indfølende snak med en sørgmodig dame af højere stand.

6. billede I denne sats (“Sad-eyed Lady, Empathy with the Dark Queen”) citeres melodien fra dronningesatsen i første suite (suiten “In the Mood of Spades”), men tilføjet Jacks´ “følelsesfulde” ledsagelse.

7. billede: Promenade-motivet ( fra “På Sporet”) genkendes, men desperation er nu klart til stede; “på sporet” er nu blevet til “af sporet” (af-sporet..)

8. billede: “Peripeti”, Vendepunktet – med spørgsmålet: Hvem er du? (Hvem er Jack? eller: er du den rette “du”?). Fortæller denne slutning at Jack nu er moralsk modnet? (Og har han omsider fundet en mere varig partner?).

Musikken opsamler forskelligartede stemninger i et næsten apoteotisk forløb, og hvor betegnelser som con fatalismo (fatalistisk), con gusto (med appetit), grave (alvorligt), giubilante (jublende), lontano (fjernt) indgår i de 6-7 minutter satsen varer.

Per Nørgård, 2008

PROGRAMME NOTE: TALES FROM A HAND (1985/2001). Four suites for guitar solo.

The characteristic associations or different moods of the four types of playing cards – Spades, Hearts, Clubs and Diamonds – was the inspiration for the four guitar suites of “Tales From a Hand”:

1. In the Mood of Spades (1985)

2. The Queen of Hearts (1995)

3. Clubs among Jokers (1989)

4. Jack of Diamonds (2001)

Suite I, In the Mood of Spades: The soloist encounters the challenge of expressing three states of being sinister, as the color of spades indisputably suggests: I. "The King" is a severe King (with a touch of French Ouverture) – while II. "The Queen" does not feel home in a traditionally "male" element with the austerity of spades – so there is a touch of "Elegy" over her and the music. III. In the "Ace of Space" a synthesis is established. The Ace is the last and most exalted card in the series. But it also expresses innocence and a pure new beginning, a mixture that unite in a sort of “sensual hymn” (or perhaps a “sacred waltz”).Suite II, The Queen of Hearts: Hearts symbolise love. These two movements illustrate two sides of the Queen of Hearts: the well-bred, polite, and noble is expressed in a slightly skewed sarabande (I. Courtly Dance), and the other side, the sensual and erotic side, in a more popular musical motif with four variations that under the surface (perhaps) is influenced by Nordic folk sounds (II. Street Dance). Before the second movement, the guitar must undergo an unusual and slow retuning from E to C sharp. This rarely used deep-sounding guitar tone gives the music a wholly special color.

The Queen of Hearts is dedicated to my wife Helle Rahbæk Nørgård.

Note: If suite II (The Queen of Hearts) is performed in the version for guitar and cello this programme note should be used: Suite II, The Queen of Hearts (with the attendance of a cello) – for guitar solo with cello obligato.

Hearts symbolise love. These two movements illustrate two sides of the Queen of Hearts: the well-bred, polite, and noble is expressed in a slightly skewed sarabande, and the other side, the sensual and erotic side, in a more popular musical motif with four variations that under the surface (perhaps) is influenced by Nordic folk sounds. Before the second movement, the guitar must undergo an unusual and slow retuning from E to C sharp. This rarely used deep-sounding guitar tone gives the music a wholly special color.

It is possible to perform the work with the "attendance" of a cello: the cello performs exclusively notes which are a part of the guitar solo (also with regard to register). After all, it is a question of “attendance, not a competition for attention.

The guitar part forms the second suite (The Queen of Hearts) of “Tales from a Hand” – four suites for guitar solo, a work based on the symbols and "strengths" of the four suits: Spades, Hearts, Clubs and Diamonds. This duo version was composed for Erling Møldrup and Morten Zeuthen.The Queen of Hearts, in the solo version as well as a version for cello and guitar, is dedicated to my wife Helle Rahbæk Nørgård. Suite III, Clubs among Jokers: Of the two black card types (Clubs and Spades) Clubs is marked by three leaves, like a clover. So in each of the three Clubs-movements one mutual main theme dominates, but in one, two and three-part polyphony, respectively (each using a fugue technique), the last one doubling the symbol of 3 (3, 9, 27, 81- ) in different ways.

I. Unbound – 1 of Clubs.

II. First Cadence – a Joker.

III. United – 2 of Clubs.

IV. Second Cadence – another Joker.

V. Exalted – 3 of Clubs.

The character is rather dark, but soft. Between the main movements, two quasi-improvised Joker-movements (try to) transform this dark mood into something more jocular.Suite IV, Jack of Diamonds. Being the concluding suite of the four, ‘Jack of Diamonds’ represents a kind of diary of a trickster and seducer – in 8 musical scenes/movements, almost a parallel to the Rake’s progress. Scene 1 “I am Jack” is a presentation: The music unfolds elegantly, with great self-confidence in a complicated and whippersnapper-like rhythmic world. (Jack Nicholson’s Joker in “Batman” could be used as an illustration.)Scene 2: “On the Track – I” (Promenade) is the seducer after his victim, con fuoco, like a beast of prey.Scene 3: “Come out and play” – tempting, with the naivety of a children’s song – but the beast of prey lies just beneath the surface, ready to spring!Scene 4: Thawing of the shy girl, poetic and seductive. He knows his stuff does Jack.Scene 5: “On the Track – II”. Material from scene 2 is recognizable although it is slightly different. Preparations are being made for an empathetic chat with a sad lady of higher rank.Scene 6: In this movement, “Sad-eyed Lady, Empathy with the Dark Queen”, not only is the melody from the queen’s movement in Suite I (“In the Mood of Spades”) is quoted, but also the entire sensual and sombre basic mood of the music. Scene 7: Material from the two “On the Track” movements is recognizable, but a mood of desperation is now clearly evident. On the track is now “off the track”, exhausted!Scene 8: Peripeti, the reversal of circumstances, “The Right One” with the question, “Who are you? (Are you the right one, are you the real “you”?). Is this the story of a mature Jack – and has he at last found a more permanent partner? The music combines different moods like an apotheosis; contrasting words like con fatalismo (fatalistic), con gusto (with appetite), grave (heavy), giubilante (jubilant), brilliante (brilliant) , lontano (remote) are used as keywords for the musician in this concluding movement, lasting 6-7 minutes.The integral version of “Tales From a Hand” (four suites for guitar solo) is dedicated to Erling Møldrup.Per Nørgård (2008)