Plutonian Ode for Soprano (or Baritone) and Cello was composed by Per Nørgård in 1980-84.
"Plutonian Ode" was composed for, and dedicated to, the English soprano Jane Manning (for the Brighton Festival 1984 - with cellist Floriaan Kitt). The text consists of two fragments of the poem by Allen Ginsberg with same title, an intensive verbal attack on the worst scenario: the atomic annihilation. The tick tock metronomic rhythm of the cello introduction indicates the original title, "26 minutes", and the time available for the American President to react with a counter attack after the information of an atomic attack on the country. The basic expression of the composition is a dramatic wake up call, in contrast to the deadly silence after an atom bomb, advocating for social relations and human meaningfulness. The constant ambiguity of the rhythms is combined with the transformation of the words (by the composer) changes of meaning, for instance "at last" - "Atlas" - "alas". Per Nørgård
Work information: The Baritone/Cello-version of "Plutonian Ode" may be performed together with "Gondellied" (for baryton and cello) with the title "In Extremis"(1984). I. Gondellied. II. Plutonian Ode