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Above the Clouds

Duration: 20 minutes
Opus: 35
Date: 1998







At first, there was only a void of empty blackness. Out of this void there emerged two distinct regions; Niflheim and Muspellsheim. Niflheim was a barren region of ice and mist whilst Muspellshiem was a land of fire.


These two regions were joined by the roots of the great world tree, Yggdrasil, which reached throughout time and space. Under Yggdrasil, where the regions of Niflheim and Muspellsheim were closest, the fire had melted part of the ice and had formed a river, Hvergelmir, which was the source of all wisdom.


This world was watched over by Erde, the Earth-Mother, who is responsible for all Creation. In time, she created two races of dwarves to people both Niflheim and Muspellheim. To rule over these two regions she created her two sons, Nifl and Muspell, who are giant gods of Ice and Fire respectively.


From the depths of Hvergelmir came forth Nidhogg, the evil darkness-dragon who continually attacked Yggdrasil. Seeing this eternal conflict, Erde created the god Odin to be guardian of Yggdrasil and to battle against Nidhogg.


The two regions of Niflheim and Muspellsheim are constantly at war with each other and fight over control of Hvergelmir, for he who has total wisdom will rule the world and will control Yggdrasil, the Tree of Life.


The two gods and their armies battle endlessly with Nifl first freezing the river with his Ice-wand and then Muspell thawing it and turning it to steam with his flaming sword before Nifl turns the vapour back to water.


Whilst Nifl and Muspell are fighting they fail to see that Odin is being overpowered by Nidhogg and before they can stop it Odin is defeated. Nidhogg breathes it's fire over Yggdrasil which burns and turns to ash.


With the destruction of Yggdrasil all life ends and Erde flees. The gods and their armies fall to the ground, lifeless. Darkness once again overcomes everything. After a short period, Erde reappears and sheds her light on the world and Yggdrasil is rejuvenated thus continuing the cycle of creation, death and re-birth.


Flute; Oboe; Clarinet; Bassoon; Guitar; Percussion (1)

Commissioned by

Peryn Clement Evans and Ensemble Cymru with funds provided by Techniquest and the Millennium Commission as part of the Pan Technicon "Sounds for Science, Science for Sounds" project 1998

First performance

Ensemble Cymru, conducted by Christopher Painter
Holywell High School, Holywell - 1998

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