The fruitful coexistence of objects
Lars Hegaard became a composer in the vacuum of the 1970s, when modernism was an accomplished project, but when there was as yet no recognition of a postmodern reality within innovative art music. The preconditions for his engagement with music were culturally diverse, and included dance music (heard on his parents' radio) and rock music. In high school Hegaard became familiar with classical music too: a string quartet by Shostakovich, Handel's Messiah and Verdi's Requiem were to be crucial to his choice of music as a profession. At first, though, it was the guitar (the 1960s instrument par excellence) that he chose to study. But the lifestyle experiments of the 1960s brought the hippie movement, openness to alternative religions and religious expression as well as ethnic music into the sphere of experience that became the basis of Hegaard's artistic idiom when he began his composition studies with Ib Nørholm at the Royal Danish Academy of Music in Copenhagen.
Triptych with Objects (1997), has objects as its main concern: objects fixed in time (Movement 1), migrating objects (Movement 2), and objects appearing from nowhere (Movement 3). What creates an object? Through a series of repeated but ever-varied musical statements, we gradually experience several sides of the character of the object.
The forms in Hegaard's music are often very simple viewed in the superficial perspective. His works are usually in several movements, and each movement deals either with one clear musical idea or with the confrontation of a relatively small number of ideas. The complexity in the form arises as a result of the listener's recollection of the individual objects and their fruitful coexistence. This is experienced most clearly in the 13 Short Pieces for flute, harp and viola (1990), inspired by an encyclopaedia entry on amino acids. Here we encounter short, haiku-like utterances which constantly add to and renew an apparently endless number of preceding utterances. The form becomes labyrinthine in its constant expansion. The listener leaves his own traces in the listening, and each listener will find a personal path through the work as a result of the memory traces established in the course of the movements.
In Twine, written in four movements, the title refers to the music at several levels: on the one hand to the way the material is developed, on the other to the relationships among the instruments, which in Hegaard's words are "alone together". But in a third perspective the title also refers to the form of the work. The four movements of the overall form are experienced as a labyrinth, but a different kind of labyrinth from the one in the 13 Short Pieces. In this case it is the ambivalent experience of form that urges itself upon us. The two middle dream movements are played without interruption. This could give rise to a ‘syncopic' experience of form: ABBC. At the same time the two middle movements refer to the other surrounding movements, thus accentuating an ‘intertwined' experience of form: ABCB. Before the two middle movements we encounter a kind of funeral march, Like a Dirge. The last movement is a kind of knees-up in 9/8 time in constantly varied instrumentations and thus links up with the 3/4 time of the second movement with its recurrent triplets. But in time the movement also takes on the diffusely-contoured dream character of the third movement, with the gradual introduction of less clearly pulsating rhythms and sudden solo interventions where the trumpet plays at a new tempo and remotely recalls music by the early American avant-garde composer Charles Ives.
Architecture is introduced to Hegaard's music by way of his recurrent use of a ‘clip' technique. Different musical universes are brought into unmediated confrontation as in the work The Four Winds, the earliest work on the CD, from 1984. Here we find inspiration from Carlos Castaneda: the four winds come from east, north, west and south, and each is given its own movement:
The eagle created the first Nagual man and Nagual woman as seers and immediately put them in the world to see. It provided them with four female warriors who were stalkers, three male warriors, and one male courier, whom they were to nourish, enhance, and lead to freedom.
The female warriors are called the four directions, the four corners of a square, the four moods, the four winds, the four different female personalities that exist in the human race.
The first is in the east. She is called order. She is optimistic, lighthearted, smooth, persistent like a steady breeze.
The second is the north. She is called strength. She is resourceful, blunt, direct, tenacious like a hard wind.
The third is the west. She is called feeling. She is introspective, remorseful, cunning, sly, like a cold gust of wind.
The fourth is the south. She is called growth. She is nurturing, loud, shy, warm, like a hot wind.
The quotation from Carlos Castaneda's The Eagle's Gift can be read as the preface to the score of The Four Winds, and Hegaard's music refers relatively directly to these characters.
Ambient Voices was written in 1998. This work too has four movements. The form of the first movement is characteristically based on the abrupt ‘clips' that have furnished the title of the whole work. The second movement is called Signs - and here the composer is thinking for example of the myriad of signs in Henri Michaux's Tache d'encre. In the movement If a Sound Was a String the ‘string' is interrupted by sudden breaks (some resounding, others silent) which with their abruptness and incomprehensibility point up the surface, the interface between music and listener, in the listener's awareness. The last movement is a Sad Story, inspired by an American TV programme about women divorced from their violent husbands. Many of them lived in miserable conditions in cars. One of them said that when she could no longer cope she would go up into the mountains to die. This movement is one of the very few pieces of music in Hegaard's output which has a very specific point of departure and which exhibits signs of indignation.
Ivar Frounberg, 2003