1898, 1899, 1993, Music

Grieg: Songs (1993) by Anne Sofie von Otter; Bengt Forsberg

This is a collection of Grieg’s songs that includes both Haugtussa and other songs from his numerous sets, picked, I guess, arbitrarily. Haugtussa is the highlight for me and a reason to rate this set higher than just an arbitrary collection of a composer’s songs should be rated.

Haugtussa, Op. 67, or The Mountain Maid

Lyrics by Arne Garborg

  1. The Enticement” – Haugtussa is dreaming.
  2. “Veslemøy” (Young Maiden) – A description of the slender Haugtussa.
  3. “Blueberry Slope” – Haugtussa is watching over her flock and sees a field of blueberries.
  4. “The Tryst” – Haugtussa looks out upon the hill and sees the boy of her dreams.
  5. “Love” – Haugtussa declares her love for the boy.
  6. “Kidlings’ Dance” – Haugtussa dances with her flock of goats.
  7. “Hurtful Day” – A rainy day; he promised he would come, but she sat there alone.
  8. “At the Brook” – Haugtussa sits by the brook speaking to it of her sadness.

This is a strong cycle and, though I am not normally a lieder fan, it strikes the same chord in me that some of Schubert’s has (that’s not to compare them musically, of course). Particularly, the 8th and final song (“At the Brook” in English) just slays me. Had I any musical talent, I would record a version of it myself. This is, for me, one of the best late Romantic cycles of lieder (that I have heard) and I highly recommend it.

Six Songs

  1. “Greeting,” words by Heinrich Heine
  2. “One Day, O Heart of Mine,” words by Emanuel Geibel
  3. “The Way of the World,” words by Ludwig Uhland
  4. “The Nightingale’s Secret,” words by Walter von der Vogelweide
  5. “The Time of Roses,” words by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  6. “A Dream,” words by Friedrich von Bodenstedt

Norwegian translation by Nordahl Rolfsen

The Six Songs (Op. 48) are compelling as well, but a little less obviously wonderful (to my ears). I still like them and would recommend them even if you are not into lieder.

The other songs in this collection are taken from all over Grieg’s oeuvre: numerous sets, none of them complete. And as a stickler for listening to complete sets of songs, I can’t help but be slightly disappointed.

7/10

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