Per Nørgård: Symphonies 1 & 8
23 October 2014
Tom HuizengaPer Nørgård is a restless musical explorer.
Now in his early 80s, he's still writing unpredictable pieces that seem to evolve spontaneously, like clusters of microorganisms constantly mutating. He has ventured through many styles, inspired by a fascination for everything from overtones and serialism to the Swiss schizophrenic outsider artist Adolf Wölfli and his own regenerating formula called "infinite systems." His most recent symphony, the Eighth from 2011, is surprisingly sprightly - a word you'd rarely use to describe Nørgård's music. Its three transparently scored movements, which follow a classical fast-slow-fast blueprint, are often lyrical, yet still harbor episodes of turbulence, brutality and what Nørgård once described as "the universe of the Nordic frame of mind." It all sounds especially expressive in these performances (the Symphony No. 1 is also included) by the Vienna Philharmonic, led by Sakari Oramo.