The Binding of the Wolf
Commissioned by Nordhordland Brass Seminar in 1990, with support from The Norwegian Composers Fund.
The title refers to a story from norse mythology, but it is not a programmatic piece of music, but I felt that there was a kind of coherence between the music and the dramatic story:
The wolf Fenrir was one of the demonic offspring of Loki, and as he grew up in Asgard among the gods, he became so huge and fierce that only Tyr was willing to feed him. It was decided that he must be bound, and Odin in his wisdom caused the cunning dwarfs to forge a chain which could not be broken. It was made from the invisible and yet potent powers of the world, such as the rotts of a mountain, the noise of a moving cat, the breath of a fish. When completed, this chain seemed to be no more than a silken cord, but the wolf refused to ket it be laid upon him unless one of the gods would put a hand between his jaws as a pledge that it was harmless. Onlye Tyr was prepared to do this, and when the wolf found out that the chain was unbreakable, the gods rejoiced, but Tyr lost his hand. The Binding of the Wolf may be seen as a means of protecting the world of men, as well as that of the gods, from destruction. The story of the god losing his hand appears to be one of the fundamental myths of northern Europe.