Nordheim’s work for Peter Pears – remastered in 24bit
Epitaffio for orchestra an magnetic tape (1963, revised 1977) is dedicated in memoriam to the brilliant Norwegian flautist Alf Andersen (1928-62). It is an unusually heartfelt and moving work and it is completeley based on sound and sound modulations between the extremes of descant and bass, or, as Nordheim puts it, ”light and dark at the same time”. Central to the orchestra are four percussionists, using mainly metal instruments; triangles, tam-tams, bells, cymbals, chimes, vibraphone, etc. Towards the end of the work the tape presents an electronically processed version of the poem Ed è subito sera (And suddenly it`s evening) by Salvatore Quasimodo, for voices. Nordheim says: ”Three solitary words; solo, terra, sera (alone, earth, evening) from Quasimodos poem occupied my thoughts from time to time. Their function is that of sound and of emotional signals, which initiate more profound phases in the composition. These words stand out clearly from the sonic world of the tape, which gives the work both a new dimension of sound and an extended, almost cosmic perspective.”
Doria for tenor and ochestra is an example of the moderation and rapprochement with tonal music which took place with Nordheim in the 70`s. The work is written for – and dedicated to – the tenor, Peter Pears. Nordheim makes the following comment on it: ”As a particular admirer of the early poems of Ezra Pound´s production, I selected the poem Doria from the collection Ripostes, published in 1912. The poem contains images that can be said to be only partially developed. Ever-changing sceneries of great atmosphere roll by, at time possessing an almost geographical quality while at other times appearing more like distant notions or shadows. The tonal realisation is based on a small-sized orchestra, and the whole of the ensemble conveys a dark, bell-like timbre.”
Technically the work is an extension of Nordheim`s orchestral style of the 60`s inspired by the ”endless” technique seen in, for instance, Lux et tenebrae, a concert version of the Osaka music. To a great extent Greening consists of tapestries of melodic lines in the divisi strings (ut to 48 parts) with ostinato motifs of varying length.
Re-mastered in 24bit technology