Edvard Grieg – Composer

Grieg-Academy-02
Grieg Academy

 

This year I have been working solidly on acquiring more languages and concentrating on sensitive interpretation of the new songs I’m adding to my repertoire.  As you know I’ve been digging deeper into the texts and musicality of each piece. At the beginning of the academic year George Todica and I sent in an audition application for a master-class in Bergen, Norway.

 

Bergen
Bergen

 

We were thrilled to be accepted to take part in the ‘International Workshop on the Songs of Edvard Grieg’ from May 29th to 31st.

The conference selected 25 applicants, eight in the form of duos (singers and pianists) plus individual singers and individual pianists.  The applicants are from many Countries: USA, Canada, UK, Romania, Russia, Ireland, Japan, China, Hungary, Italy and Sweden.

 

Grieg
Edvard Grieg – ( 1843 to 1907 )

 

The workshop will consist of informal, open teaching sessions with teachers from the Grieg Academy Staff and also professional free-lance singers including: Njål Sparbo, Marianne Beate Kielland and Ann-Helen Moen.  An expert in phonetics Wenche Ophaug will be working on language pronunciation and there will be a final concert in Grieg’s Villa at Troldhaugen on the last evening 31st May.

 

Grieg-Villa
Grieg’s Villa at Troldhaugen

 

I am very grateful for the support of my fellow vocal student Martina Starr-Lassen who grew up not far from Bergen, she has been wonderful in helping me with Norwegian pronunciation as I wanted to learn my chosen song cycle in the original language they were composed in.  This has been an enjoyable challenge.

We were very grateful to receive financial support from the Deablitz Fund awarded by the RCS Director of Music towards this opportunity to help to purchase our airfare and the conference organisers have funded the course and part of the accommodation which has made our participation possible.

 

Grieg-Academy-01
Inside The Grieg Academy – Bergen

 

When we received our acceptance letter we chose to start learning the Haugtussa, Op. 67, or The Mountain Maid which is a song cycle for soprano and piano composed by Edvard Grieg in 1895 and published in 1898. It is the only song cycle in his entire repertoire. The text was written by the Norwegian writer Arne Garborg from his book of poetry Haugtussa.

It tells the story of , a young herding girl, and her first love affair with a boy, her first heartache. Both the lyrics, which brim over with imagery of gurgling brooks and tasty blueberries, and the music that mimics this imagery, intertwine the main character’s personal story and the mystic spring-like landscape that surrounds her, which may even motivate it.

The song cycle consists of the following eight songs:

1. Det Syng -“The Enticement” – Haugtussa is dreaming
2. Veslemøy – ‘Young Maiden’ – A description of the slender 18 yr old Haugtussa. She has second sight and sees what others fail to see. Viewed by others in her community as strange. She can see the spirits of the other worlds – trolls, hill folk, even the devil.
3. Blabaer-Li – “Blueberry Slope” – Haugtussa is watching over her flock and sees a field of blueberries.
4. Mote – “The Tryst” – Haugtussa looks out upon the hill and sees the boy of her dreams.
5. Elsk – “Love” – Haugtussa declares her love for the boy Jon. She finds it easy to cope with her gifts while she has her love, there is lots of pathetic fallacy, so love comes in summer, but when she hears of Jon’s desertion it is ‘an evening towards autumn’ trolls and spirits appear in the night, in mist and cold shadows.
6. Killingdans – “Kidlings’ Dance” – Haugtussa dances with her flock of goats.
7. Vond Dag – “Hurtful Day” – A rainy day; he promised he would come, but she sat there alone.
8. Ved Gjaetle-Bekken – “At the Brook” – Haugtussa sits by the brook speaking to it of her sadness.

Only three weeks away now, very exciting.

85 thoughts on “Edvard Grieg – Composer

    1. Thanks 😊 I enjoyed your poetry, so sad that often these song cycles I sing finish on a sad note but I guess sometimes when the rose coloured spectacles come off…the girl in the blue dress scenario happens.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  1. Sounds like a fantastic experience in prospect, and what surroundings to be in. You haven’t got a spare corner of your suitcase that you could fit me into, have you, Charlotte?

  2. Wonderfull share, it’s really fabulous !! Once again, congratulation to you and George. Good luck for this new challenge ! best wishes to you and him ! All the best for you !

  3. Charlotte I am so happy for you. What an honor to be picked. I know you will do yourself proud. Best to you.

  4. How exciting for you! I hope you have a lovely time. I love Grieg’s music very much. When I got married the first time we had Grieg’s ‘Wedding at Troldhaugen’ for me to process into the church to.

  5. Excited for you, Charlotte! Your photos show that it’s a great place to learn… I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful, international experience. All the best!

  6. Very exciting and look forward to hearing your voice along with Edvard Grieg’s music 🙂 What a great experience it will be (for you to study and expand your talents and for all of us that get to listen to the results!). Cheers ~

  7. What a wonderful opportunity! Norway is an amazing place. Amazing country, amazing people, and amazing support for knowledge and creativity. I was only there once, and only for a week, in December 2010, but since then I’ve had several Norwegian clients. (I’m an editor, and their English is as good as mine.)

    1. I regret not having the opportunity or putting more effort into languages earlier but I guess now I have a real drive to improve them, I’m hoping it’s never too late 😊. I can’t wait to visit Norway Martina has been a wonderful help.
      My best wishes
      Charlotte

      1. Since you will go to Norway, I suggest getting warm clothes, layering is key. 2 sweaters and a few blouses. This way you can mix the blouses with the 2 sweaters for different looks. And I think two pairs of elegant trousers are enough too. And always add an elegant dress 🙂

      2. I don’t have many trousers good idea, I tend to live in jeggings and Juicy type track suit bottoms, I must get a smart pair of trousers to take perhaps grey or navy that hold their shape. Thanks

      3. Indeed, I love jeggings too but again they are a bit too casual, especially when meeting new people. Also in black or white as they match pretty much anything. You are welcome, hun 🙂

      1. I’m looking forward to posts about your experience, and, of course, the music. I apologize for not stopping by more frequently. This past month has been a whirlwind and I end up checking my email late at night most days! Need music in my life!

      2. Snap, please don’t worry I just noticed your A-Z and will get back when I have more time to enjoy them, perhaps while I’m travelling blogging makes the time pass quicker waiting for transport 😊.
        Best wishes
        Charlotte

  8. I find this fascinating – Grieg is an all-time favourite of mine with the wonderful contrasts of the Peer Gynt and Holberg Suites – but I am not so familiar with his songs.

    1. It’s hard to get all the words memorised off score, I’m giving myself a short break to give it time to sink in. I must make time to listen to your two suggestions.
      Best wishes
      Charlotte

  9. Best of luck, Charlotte! How exciting for you. I love the sound of the song cycle–the story is so touching and yet very personable. I’m sure you will give life to its meaning when you sing it.

    By the way, I’ve started working on an idea for an operetta. It’s a medieval village setting, two interwoven love stories during a Mayfair celebration, with a king in disguise visiting and attempting to get to know his subjects. Like the idea?

    Best regards,

    Cate

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