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The Preludes can be distinguished by characters full of contrasts, which accompany the poetic line of the texts of the hymns, the theological axis that underlies them and the liturgical time. They find their place as much in the liturgy as they do in the concert.
‘Mit hjerte altid vanker’ develops a dancing movement around the chorale of Carl Nielsen. Chimes, melismas, aksak rhythms (3+2+2) or toccata give the dominant colour of the cycle, emerging from the joy of Christmas. Expressive harmonies accompany the declamation of the tenor of ‘Nærmere, Gud, til dig’. In ‘O Gud, du ved og kender’ the cantus is counterpointed by a perpetual movement, an image of the confident Christian, carried by a compelling stream in the steps of Christ. ‘At sige verden ret farvel’ is an expressive, harmonic meditation full of chromaticism, facing the torments of death and the mystery of Redemption. ‘Hil dig, Frelser og Forsoner’ illustrates the loving and grateful thrust of the Christian soul towards the Crucified, Saviour and Consoler. One may figure in the perpetuum mobile of the middle section, a picture of the Eternal Joy in Christ. A relief of serenity and of light frames the majestic declamation of the tenor of ‘Den mørke nat forgangen er’.
Based on a Swedish popular melody, ‘Nu blomstertiden kommer’ offers a cheerful and dancing thanksgiving, in praise to the Creator. The Easter chorale par excellence in Denmark, ‘Påskeblomst’ is paraphrased harmonically here, with an ascending cadential progression and a crescendo culminating on the splendour of the Resurrection. The overflowing joy of ‘Op, al den ting, som Gud har gjort’ takes up again the character of the initial movement of the cycle and falls within the thrust of Psalm 150: “Let all that breathes praise the Lord”. The peaceful paraphrase of ‘O kristelighed’, conjugates the ABA form to the ornamental variation. The light writing of ‘Så vældigt det mødte os først i vor dåb’ symbolises the baptismal water and the encounter with the Beloved. ‘Befal du dine veje’ concludes the cycle in a popular and festive character, exuberant with joy.
from notes by Signum Classics © 2012
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