Part 1: Koral
Part 2: Song
Part 3: Fløyteljod 'The sound of the flute'
Part 4: Langeleik
Part 5: Frygde Song
The theme of the Variations is a chorale familiar in Norway from the hymn book, and derived from a Norwegian folk tune whose short-breathed phrases give it a particularly expressive quality. It was both the melody and the words which inspired the composer. The opening line begins: ‘Å hvor salig det skal blive’ (‘O how glorious will it be for the children of God’). The first three variations emphasize the folk origins of the tune, casting it as a song in variation 1, then as a flute melody over a hurdy-gurdy-style drone bass in the second variation. The title of the third variation, Langeleik, is the name of a Norwegian zither-like folk instrument which has one melodic string and up to seven drone strings. The music echoes its timbre, creating an interesting registration challenge. The final variation is an apotheosis of the melody. The composer dedicated the variations ‘Mine foreldre tilegnet … ’—‘to my parents’.
from notes by Ian Carson © 1994