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Per Nørgård: Gilgamesh (Opera, Complete); Voyage Into the Golden Screen Box set, Import

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, Box set, Import, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Per Nørgård's complete opera, Gilgamesh, is performed on this 2 CD set issued on da capo in 1990.

Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Format: Box set, Import
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: da capo
  • ASIN: B005WL69KC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #819,820 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

The late 1960s and early 1970s saw Danish composer Per Nørgård going through an incredible stylistic evolution, moving from atonal pointillism to awesomely beautiful works of natural harmonies, supple rhythms and cosmic scales. Throughout this period, his tool of choice was the infinity series, a means he had discovered of generating a musical line that was endlessly self-similar, what we today would call a fractal. Essentially, if you pick every 4th, 16th, etc. note of the infinity series, you recreate the melody that much slower. What this means is that the same music can move at different speeds but always meet on unisons, which gives it intriguing dimensions, and it is easy for any listener to follow along.

A patently transitional work in this era, the opera "Gilgamesh" was finished by the beginning of 1972 and premiered a year later by Denmark's Jutland Opera. This Dacapo release documents a Swedish performance from later in 1973. A very interesting aspect of Nørgård's adaptation of the ancient Babylonian epic is the prescribed staging, which sadly we miss out on in a mere recording. The performers are spread through the audience, and all musicians wear costumes. The Bull of Heaven is portrayed by a trombonist who rushes through the performance space. The conductor moves during each section, representing the Sun God moving in a cyclic orbit for each "Day" of the piece.

Musically, this uses slightly a more tonal approach to the infinity series than the chromatic form of earlier works. However, Norgard had not yet based his harmonies on the overtone series, nor his rhythms on the golden section. The result, the constantly jumping intervals in foursquare succession, is very difficult to describe to someone who has never heard it before, but it is very engaging.
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