1898 in Music

Music reviews I’ve written for music published in 1898.

1. Edvard Grieg: Haugtussa, Op. 67 (10/10)

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.

2. Gabriel Faure: Nocturne No. 7 in C minor, Op. 74 (8/10)

The 7th nocturne’s first notes are further apart and slower than any nocturne before, but the volume picks up almost instantly, only to fade away again. But the next movement is considerably more up tempo, though once again there’s that swooning feeling.

3. Gustav Holst: Four Songs (8/10)

I really like the “Four Songs.” From memory, I don’t think I’ve yet heard a song for just voice and violin. This is a neat and unusual approach, to the best of my knowledge. I recognize there’s nothing truly groundbreaking here, but I do appreciate the settings more than I usually do.

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