PER NØRGÅRD Symfonier 2 & 6
19 July 2016
James ManheimThe music of Danish composer Per Nørgård contains multitudes,
one might say. It is perhaps best experienced through his symphonies, which tend to contain and juxtapose many of his ideas. The packaging of this Dacapo recording of two of Nørgård’s symphonies puts it well with the words that “his music stems from an insatiable urge to explore the phenomena of the world and the possibilities of music.” Nørgård was mentored in the 1950s by the elderly Sibelius, and in the Symphony No. 6 (“At the End of the Day”) suggests a Sibelius for modern times, influenced by the great Finn’s spiritual encounter with the Scandinavian natural world and by the vast, subtle detail of his orchestral canvases, yet with a kind of obsessive intensity. Sample the opening movement of the first track, which evokes and then blasts through classical formal ideas. The Symphony No. 2 in One Movement marked one of the first appearances of an “infinity principle” of motivic derivation that appears in many of Nørgård’s works. A full measure of credit goes to the Oslo Philharmonic under John Storgårds; the orchestra conveys the excitement of playing well at the limit of its abilities, and Storgårds catches many small details. Part of a series devoted to Nørgård’s symphonies, this release is perhaps especially recommended.