Archives For Edvard Grieg

A Vision of Haugtussa

November 6, 2016 — 73 Comments

Since I started blogging I have met so many supportive and helpful people, people who have inspired me to be myself and pursue my dreams.  One of them is Pascal Barnier, a French artist, and a good friend.  When he listens to my singing he uses his illustrations to share with me what he sees in his imagination.  I find the results absolutely fabulous and have loved sharing them with you all over the last three years.

When he found out that I was to release the “Haugtussa” as an album he decided to produce a video of his images set to my music. When I sing I have in my mind the images of the characters and the story that I am trying to tell, it helps me to find the right emotions to accompany the melodic music and expressive poetry.  So to be able to see what someone else imagines when listening to my singing to me is quite fascinating.

Here is the video and I would love to hear what you think of it.  If you have listened to the Haugtussa, is this how you imagined the story?

iTunes USA https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/haugtussa/id1151773586
iTunes UK https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/haugtussa/id1151773586
CD Baby https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/charlottehoather2

You can also listen to my album by using the streaming services like Deezer, Napster, Spotify, and Apple Music

After a very busy first week of lessons at the Royal College of Music, London, I excitedly hopped on a plane on Friday to Barcelona for a weekend of music, great food, fantastic company, and joyfulness.

Upon my arrival at Barcelona, I was greeted at the airport by the Néstor Bayona, a conductor, and pianist that I met in Berlin, who kindly took me to his family home, which was about a two-hour drive away in Lleida where he introduced me to his parents and the rest of the ensemble. His wonderful parents Albert and Marina made me very welcome and soon made me feel like part of the family. It was a joy to stay with them. However before I could hit the hay, I had a rehearsal in the evening with Néstor on the Haugtussa cycle by Grieg, which he had invited me to Catalonia to perform. It was wonderful to keep the music alive and develop new ideas to continue the creative spontaneity of telling the stories of the pieces. We then concluded the evening in true Spanish style with snacks and nibbles outside in the beautiful Mediterranean evening.

 

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Nestor’s Family Home, Lleida

 

On Saturday we had another rehearsal at Néstor’s home around lunchtime, and I was able to hear Frans van Schoonhoven, violin and Malena Pflock, cello rehearse their Shostakovich Piano Trio number 2 in E minor, op. 67, which was very emotionally demanding and very challenging. Once we were all happy with our pieces, we had a fantastic three-course Spanish meal at a fabulous restaurant, with enough paella to make one’s stomach explode! It was very delicious, and I enjoyed every bite.

 

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Auditori Municipal Enric Grandos, Lleida

 

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Rehearsing For The Mozart Quartet

 

After lunch we continued our day by travelling to the venue, Auditori Municipal Enric Granados, it was a beautiful concert hall in the heart of Lleida, and it was every exciting to perform here, mainly due to the capacity of the venue and the fantastic resonance of the hall. The programme was very varied and included a surprise appearance by an actor, Marc Cartanyà presenting monologues to link the pieces and to set the mood. I began the cycle offstage and then walked on during my first piece to create an eerie atmosphere and to suggest the sound of the mystical voice from the mountains. It was thrilling to try the performance in a different staging which enabled me to use skills that I had learnt in Berlin to control and shape the atmosphere to tell the story. I enjoyed it immensely and would love to go back. My performance concluded the first half which meant I was able to enjoy the second half as a spectator and support my friends. The second half was brought to a close with a beautiful rendition of Mozart’s Piano Quartet in G minor, KV.478. In which Nestor, Frans and Malena were joined by Jordi Roure on Viola.

 

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Me With Nestor Boyana Before The Concert

 

 

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Frans van Schoonhoven , Marc Cartanyà, Me, Jordi Roure, Malena Pflock and Nestor Boyana

 

Once the show finished, the night was not yet over! That evening in Lleida, there was a celebration and the community gathered to watch a concert and to dance the night away. We stayed for a while, and I loved the happy atmosphere. Especially when they began to sing Disney songs in Spanish! Just how I like to party!  🙂

 

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Then after a very pleasant sleep, I woke up early this morning to travel to Barcelona to perform the same program there. We left quite early as it was a lunchtime performance and we passed the time on the road trip with great music and lots of jokes. We found the venue, Musitekton, and arrived an hour before the concert; this meant we had to be very efficient with or time management to ensure that all the players were able to warm up and to test the acoustics.

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The venue was very intimate, and the walls were lined with string instruments as the owner also builds and repairs string instruments, so it was a unique and individual place to perform. Music was most certainly in the air! The concert went very well, and we all enjoyed ourselves connecting with the very attentive audience.

 

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Jordi Roure, Me, Frans van Schoonhoven , Malena Pflock and Nestor Boyana

 

I concluded my trip with yet another huge Spanish meal with my colleagues and new friends where I tried black rice (black from squid ink) and many different styles of seafood.  While I was there, I also tried the local delicacy snails Catalan style and they were surprisingly delicious. However, I don’t think I would be brave enough to cook them at home.

I had the most fantastic time, and it was great to spend two days immersed in the Spanish culture and to experience my first professional international recital in Spain. I would love to go back and perhaps next time sing in Spanish!

Here I Go Again.

September 25, 2016 — 74 Comments

I have just had an absolutely fabulous first week at The Royal College of Music, I met some wonderfully enthusiastic students, I attended several well-structured and informative introductory lectures and sat enthralled during two masterclasses. 🙂 If this is a sample of what is yet to come then I am in for an exciting time over the next two years, and I can’t wait to share my experiences with you all.

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First Day Ready To Go To The Royal College of Music

On Monday I got up early and double checked that I had everything that I needed to register at the College, then off I went to catch the tube and make my way over to South Kensington. The tube was really busy and was a new experience for me, one that I’m sure I will get used to very quickly.

I walked along Exhibition Road between the Natural History Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum. You get a real sense of the history of the area with these grand, imposing buildings on both sides. I arrived at the Royal College of Music and after spending a few minutes just enjoying the moment I walked up the stairs and I was inside.

I had such an exciting first day, finding my way around, taking in the surroundings and meeting some of the other new students, it was so much fun. 🙂

As the week progressed, we sat language assessments in Italian, French and German, and several of the faculty members and their amazing administrative staff introduced themselves to us during our induction lectures.

On Wednesday the College hosted Dame Gwyneth Jones in the Britten Theatre who gave a vocal Masterclass and provided us with some insightful observations and useful suggestions as we started the new term.

Then on Friday I attended another Masterclass, this time, it was from an instrumentalist’s perspective, a Violin Masterclass given by Maxim Vengerov in the Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall. His playing was so vibrant and full of musical storytelling, quite an experience and one that I left feeling enthused, with my mind buzzing with fabulous ideas to try out in my practice sessions. I have now received my new timetable for the coming week, and I can’t wait to get started.

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Pascal Barnier Kindly Created This Beautiful Image For My Album Cover

 

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To bring to end such a memorable week for me, I am excited to share with you the release of my new album, which is a recording of Edvard Grieg’s “Haugtussa” accompanied skilfully on piano by George Todica. I have loved learning these beautiful songs and wanted to record them and share them with you. The support and encouragement that I received from you all following my first album, Canzone D’Amore, made me even more determined to press on with my dreams. The money that I raised helped me to take up my place here at the Royal College of Music and the proceeds from this my second album will allow me to continue my studies and take a few more steps towards my goal. At the moment it is only available to download on iTunes and CD Baby ( if you want FLAC files ) and as soon as it is available as a CD, I will let you know.

iTunes USA  https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/haugtussa/id1151773586
iTunes UK  https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/haugtussa/id1151773586
CD Baby  https://www.cdbaby.com/cd/charlottehoather2

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I have some other news to share with you, following my summer trip to Berlin, Nestor Bayona, a conductor and pianist that I performed with there, invited me to fly over to Catalonia to perform alongside him in two concerts that he has organised. We will be performing songs from the “Haugtussa” song cycle, and it will be my first concert in Spain, Olé !!

 

As you’ll be aware if you’ve been following my blog for the past three years,  my musical passion lies in the Opera world, in July I flew to Italy to participate in the Trentino Music Festival Summer School.  When preparing the songs for my audition for this summer school in January, my ambition about such an experience was initially to get more opera performance opportunities and to improve my Italian language skills over the five weeks duration.  Whilst in Italy I made friends in all the local shops, bakery and cafes and practised my Italian on my willing victims every day.  I attended and performed in master-classes, one by the amazing Deborah Voigt, and undertook the roles of ‘Gretel’ in Hansel and Gretel (under the skilful baton of David Gately), ‘2nd Knabe’ and chorus in Die Zauberflute by Mozart and as ‘The Novice’ and chorus in Suor Angelica by Puccini.

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Jess And Me On Our First Day In Italy

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Going To See Aida with Natalie

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Just Before Going On Stage At A Concert In Italy

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My Final Week With The Opera Performance Studio

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The Final Performance Of Hansel And Gretel

I was guest soloist at a Fyfe Creative Arts Hub Recital the day after I returned from my summer holiday and in October I performed a selection of arias at a gala fundraising evening hosted by the Bowdon Festival Opera, they are raising funds to put the Opera ‘Don Giovanni’ this year and I’ve been offered the role of ‘Zerlina’ which is very exciting.

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Tim Edmundson, Beth Jerem, Robert Forrest, Me And Michael Gibson

Last November George Todica and I utilised our Grieg Haugtussa song cycle coaching from our Norwegian master-classes in a one hour long concert in Edinburgh.  I sang the full eight song cycle in the first half in the original Norwegian. I have been analysing if songs sound better in the language they were originally written in and one comparison I thought:  ‘Does Shakespeare have such a profound effect and impact when translated into other languages?’  Or indeed ‘Would Robert Burns give the depth and feeling if spoken or sung in standard English rather than Scottish dialect, his poem and song ‘Auld Lang Syne’ is often sung at Hogmanay (New Years Eve)?’

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At the close of the year I enjoyed participating in the RCS choir at St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral undertaking Handel’s Dixit Dominus, I also got to listen to friends performing Spem and Purcell.

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Beth Taylor, Me and Susannah Bedford Ready For Handel’s Dixit Dominus

And finally singing in the Christmas Cracker with Jessica Hurst at The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

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Ready To Go On Stage At The Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

 

My Musical Review Of 2015 – Part 1

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This weekend I’ve had the chance to sit down with a cup of tea and reflect on my first performance of Grieg’s ‘Haugtussa’ as a complete song cycle. My Dad was able to come to watch when I performed in Edinburgh and I was so grateful to him as he stood at the back of the room and held his video camera over his head for the entirety of the evening so that I could listen back. Hopefully, next time he’ll bring a stand so he can relax and enjoy it. (Perhaps Santa will leave him one under the Christmas tree 🙂  )

Normally I struggle to watch myself as often I can be very critical. However, I read a book recently whilst I was preparing for my auditions and it recommended to list what you did well first and then rather than say “I did that terribly”, immediately start thinking how you can improve it.

For example in this video one of the things I would like to improve is my ability to keep my vibrato spinning at the ends of phrases to create a better line.

But for this blog post I am sharing this video with you as a work in progress as I would love to continue with my research into these pieces and work hard to improve my performance of them.

The song I have chosen is “Veslemoy”, it appears second in the cycle of the eight songs. Veslemoy is the real name of the young girl, and Haugtussa is her nickname meaning ‘mountain maid’. The text in this song describes her physical appearance as being thin and slender with brown pure features. It also mentions how she appears to be touched by magic allowing her to see into other realms. The second verse goes on to explain that despite her appearing calm she is still a young beautiful girl trembling and frail.

This description in some way prepares us for what is to come, as the story develops over the remaining six songs Haugtussa meets a boy and she feels her emotions blossom into a first love but sadly she is left waiting for him in the cold. He never returns.

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Me with George Todica in Troldhaugen where we performed in Grieg’s house during our stay in Bergen, Norway.

I’m very excited to work on this cycle as it is rarely performed in the UK in its original Norwegian and yet the music and poetry are so touching and beautiful. I hope to record the whole cycle next year and would love to share them with you.  George and I have been working with these songs for over six months now and they’re still a work in progress, I hope that you enjoy them on first listening and that they can grow on you to become favourites as they have done with me. This gives me an opportunity to really listen and appreciate George’s sensitive interpretation and emotional connection to these beautiful songs.

Translation :

She is thin, dark and slender
with brown, pure features
and her eyes are deep and grey
and she has a soft dreamy manner.
It is as if it, half and half,
lay a spell over the whole of her.
In movement, speech and everything she has a muted calm.
She has a muted calm.
Beneath her lovely forehead,
Her eyes shine as if behind a mist,
It is as if they staring, saw far into another world.
Only her breast goes tight and heavy
And her pale mouth quivers.
She is trembling, frail and weak
At the same time she is beautiful and young.
She is beautiful and young.

Here are some links to the posts that I wrote about my time in Bergen 🙂

Edvard Grieg – Composer
Soprano Packing!
Just Arrived In Bergen
Day 2 – Welcome To The Grieg Academy
Day 3 In Bergen – So Inspiring
Enthralling Lectures, Inspirational Performances and Great Company
Bergen – The Final Concert

Edinburgh Recital

November 22, 2015 — 79 Comments

What a wonderful weekend! On Saturday I had the privilege to perform alongside George Todica for the Edinburgh Society of Musicians.  It was a very welcoming society and a relaxing atmosphere to perform my first hour long solo evening recital that I had organised, designed and performed alone with piano accompaniment without any other soloists in the programme.

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Pascal Barnier Sent Me This Beautiful Image That He Created For Our Recital


The evening’s programme comprised of:

“Haugtussa” the full cycle by Grieg

Four of Aaron Copland’s American Folk Songs

Four Scottish Folk Songs

‘Quando M’en Vo’  – Puccini

‘Wo Bin Ich?’ – Humperdink

‘Song To The Moon’ – Dvorak

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The Edinburgh Society Of Musicians – The Performance Area


Before starting the concert I was a bit nervous as it was the longest I was going to sing by myself. This brings challenges of vocal stamina as the voice is produced by muscles activating and relaxing. Similarly to a long distance athlete you need endurance, fuel and energy to last the entire event.

Leading up to the concert I was practising my words regularly and I think in the future I will keep working on this so that I can relax a little more mentally in the concert, but I think that because my attention was highly activated I could create and spontaneously react to ideas George created on the piano.

I am excited to be performing the Haugtussa again in March 2016 and can’t wait to see the progression the piece will make over time.

The program was well received and we were commended for a professional performance.

For me the highlight of the evening was meeting everyone after the event including fellow musicians along with a pianist who knew the ‘Haugtussa’ cycle as he had performed it before, and we received some great advice and feedback.

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Charlotte Hoather                                                   George Todica

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Last night at the gala fundraising evening hosted by Bowdon Festival Opera I had a fabulous time catching up with friends, spending time with my family and performing alongside a group of singers brought together for the event from around the UK and Ireland.

To open the evening’s performance, I was accompanied by the festival chorus and performed two of Gretel’s arias from Englebert Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel”: Ein Männlein steht im Walde and Abendsegen (Evening Prayer).

It was great fun to perform these arias again especially with the chorus providing an English translation of ‘The Evening Prayer’. In a packed program I also enjoyed performing in the second half of the evening along with vocalists singing excerpts from Dido and Aeneas; Macbeth; Don Giovanni and many more.

The evening was a great success and I am so pleased that I could play a part in it.  It’s so expensive to put on an opera production that without the support provided by these fundraisers it would be impossible to do, so I must pass on a big thank you to everyone that came along and especially to all the people who organised the evening. As Jayne explained during her final speech, many festivals and music groups don’t get the financial support from Lottery funds or Art Grants so it was great to see the local community support the event, it was also wonderful to see so many new students participating in the evening and the progress they are making.

Today after a few hours with my Mum and Dad I have the long drive back up to Glasgow, so I can only manage a short post tonight. Thank goodness the clocks went back last night and I gained an extra hour.

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After a few busy days I’m very excited to tell the tale of my last day in Bergen. Sunday 31st May began with a masterclass in the morning, we all performed the two songs that we were going to be singing later that evening in the concert. It was fantastic to receive  advice from the teachers and scholars which helped us all to bring the songs to life. I was delighted to receive the compliment of good Norwegian pronunciation from specialist Wencke Ophaug during the masterclass. Watching the other workshop participants was lovely as I got to see the improvements made by the others over the past few days. It was delightful to work with such positive and hard-working people.

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Click On The Picture To See The Full Panorama

 

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We then had a break to re-energise ourselves and gather our things for the evening. I took my gold sparkly dress and George brought his DJ. We met the rest of the group at 4:15 pm outside the Grieg Hall and together we caught a coach to Troldhaugen. We arrived with the sun shining and at 5 o’clock a final rehearsal took place. But this rehearsal didn’t take place in a concert hall it took place in Grieg’s house. Now this was an extra special experience, George played Grieg’s piano and I stood where Nina would’ve sung. It felt like the music was coming home and we revelled in all the happy memories held within the walls of this beautiful house. It’s something I can’t quite explain in words, but I feel so privileged to have gained this opportunity and to take away such a marvellous memory. I also managed to press a note for myself. (A tuning ‘A’ to be precise hehe).

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Sadly we could not take any pictures inside to share with you but if this means that many more generations can see and feel what I had experienced, then I don’t mind and instead I urge you to visit this fabulous home for yourselves.

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After our seven minutes of rehearsal time George and I along with the other participants went downstairs to the maid’s quarters to get ready for the performance. I used some of this time to go and explore, I visited Grieg’s composition hut and it was here and at his piano, which I touched, that the music of ‘Haugtussa’ came to life. We also visited his and Nina’s graves which were carved into the mountains. It was quite spectacular and a beautiful resting place for them both, it felt quite an honour to be part of the history of this inspiring area of Bergen.

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We then got changed into our performance clothes so we could take some pictures outside of the house to make the most of the sunny day. However, it was when we returned downstairs that something occurred. I poured myself a cup of berry tea, but moments later, just after being freshly brewed,  in the crowded room as I turned the entire contents of the cup spilled down the front of my dress. At first I couldn’t feel it and I just panicked about the mess but then all of a sudden the hot liquid reached my leg and stuck to my tight dress soaking my thigh. People rushed to help me get to a rest room and take the dress off and finally after a painful struggle I was released from it to reveal a burnt thigh!  But in the words of Freddie Mercury, (I’m a huge fan along with my Mum and Dad) “the show must go on!”,  so after pouring a cold bottle of water all over my leg and rubbing some hand lotion on I put my dress back on, which was more like a wetsuit 🙂 walked back upstairs and sung my heart out. Nothing was going to ruin this experience for me. Then promptly after finishing I retired to some comfy clothes to allow my skin some time to heal.

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After the performance we all mingled and took some photos and expressed our joy of such a fabulous experience. I must say that I have now left the workshop as a Grieg enthusiast and I hope to keep singing and sharing his music for a long time.

I must admit that figuring out how to dictate my notes into my iPad has been really helpful and made sharing my adventure so much easier, I can really recommend it.

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Today was a very exciting day indeed. From 9 o’clock till 1 o’clock we attended lectures held by guest speakers. The first lecture at 9 o’clock was taken by Arne Torp, a Norwegian professor from the University of Oslo. He spoke about the Norwegian language revival as artistic inspiration for Edvard Grieg. To begin with he pointed out the connection between the Scandinavian countries Norway Sweden and Denmark. He explained that for some time Denmark and Norway had a union, in which Denmark was the mothering country. This was because the higher classes spoke Danish. People learnt how to write in this language but often they spoke Bokmål, Norwegian Danish. Then when Norway became independent in 1814, the people of Norway wanted to speak a language connected to their own nationality, hence they began to speak Nynorsk, (Landsmål). In 1944 it reached its popularity peak as the language was then taught on the school curriculum. Torp continued his lecture on the subject of music as an element for building national identity. He explained Grieg’s involvement in these projects and how he chose poems in the new language Nynorsk in order to promote this change and support Norway’s identity. An example of this is his setting of Arne Garbourg’s Haugtussa.

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At 10 o’clock the lecture was led by Cheryl Christensen from the USA. The theme of the lecture was Grieg in the “world of unborn music” and his creative journey through the use of language in Haugtussa. This was a brilliant lecture because she incorporated live performances with musical examples from her research through the help of two American workshop participants. She spoke about the structural dissonances in Grieg’s Haugtussa. For example he only chose to set eight songs from the overall collection which spans over two volumes. In the story that Grieg chose to create the audience experience her transforming from a scared and fragile girl to a courageous young woman due to the experience of heartbreak.

Markéta Štefková a professor from Slovakia furthered this discussion through an in depth analysis of the musical motifs that occurred in Haugtussa. Sharon Lavery from the Juilliard School gave a lecture on the marriage of music and poetry in Grieg’s Haugtussa. She spoke about how as a singer we can choose how to modify and project the vowels and consonants in order to portray the meaning of the text. This was very interesting and tied in with the work that we were doing with the Norwegian specialists in the workshops hosted by the Grieg Academy.

Gregory Martin, gave a lecture on the midnight sun that occurs in Norway and how this affected Grieg’s desire to present a sense of timelessness in his music. Avrid Vollsnes a Norwegian professor ended the morning session by explaining about the old culture and society at the time when the poems were written. This was great to hear as it gave insight into how the character of Haugtussa was affected by her relationship to other townsmen and to nature around her.

In the afternoon George and I had a lesson with Audun Kayser, who is a very talented pianist. He worked on quite a few pieces with us and provoked us to question how we performed the music by offering a little guidance in juxtaposition whilst encouraging us to take risks and liberate ourselves within the music. It was a fabulous session and one that I will remember for a long time.

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At 5 o’clock we caught the coach to Troldhaugen.  It was here that we got to visit Grieg’s villa. It was his first permanent home after starting his married life with Nina Grieg. It was brilliant to see where he forged his ideas and created this magnificent pieces such as Haugtussa. We then went to a concert performed by the professors who led our vocal workshops at the Academy. This was both outstanding and at the same time very inspirational. Both duos had a real sense of connection and kept you engaged for the whole time you were there. Even though I do not speak Norwegian, Danish nor German I was able to follow the stories that they told through their fabulous performances. I hope that one day I can perform to a similar high standard it was truly breath-taking.

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To finish a wonderful day we had a delicious dinner at Spisestedet Troldhaugen and we chatted and told stories and anecdotes into the late evening. I’ll be very sad knowing that it will be my last workshop day here tomorrow. But I will make the most of time here by absorbing as much of the culture, knowledge and experiences as possible.

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Day three began with a practice slot in room 209 from 9 o’clock to 10 o’clock. We performed four of the songs that we prepared for the trip yesterday in our lesson with Solveig, so today we decided to work on a new piece from the Haugtussa cycle, Møte.  I had previously worked on the translation and pronunciation with my dear friend Martina whilst in Glasgow, so George and I decided to explore the musical ideas conjured up by the piece after yesterday’s inspiring open lessons.

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Then at 10 o’clock we then went to the opening of the conferences and lectures held by musicologists interested in Grieg’s works.  The Grieg Society started in 1996 and they held conferences by annually.  The Society now hold the conference sessions every four years with little projects and workshops in between. This conference was the first time that workshop and lectures had been combined.

This resulted in bringing musicologists and performing musicians together in close contact to discuss ideas and create a web of information which we can all draw from. This was the goal of the society and I believe they have succeeded.

The conference represents over 20 different countries. The theme for the conference was the vocal production of Grieg music, there are 180 different songs that Grieg wrote.  Einar Røttigen, a fabulous pianist and leader of the workshop, explained that his hopes for the conference were that we could all take away what we had learned from our experiences and share them with others.  His hope is that the conference will create a network of Grieg enthusiasts, who in turn will inspire people to learn,listen and perform these beautiful Norwegian songs.
Beryl Foster from the UK was the keynote speaker, and she led the very interesting lecture ‘Grieg The Dramatist.’   She went into great depth that about his music and his compositions for the voice. She explained that he was a master of subtle difference shifting the Bar line and the inclusion of the tritone to represent dramatic ideas. He also wanted to feature ideas brought from Norwegian folk music to give a flavour of this fabulous culture within his works.

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Then at 11 o’clock Jorma Daniel Lünenbürger, from Germany, gave a lecture on Grieg songs using German words, in context to German lieder. This was a very interesting talk, as he explained that Grieg went to Leipzig Conservatoire to study. Grieg decided that he wanted to compose in the German language and in the German manner. The basis of the lecture was to compare how the different famous composers such as Grieg, Schubert, Wolf, Franz and Reinecke ( Grieg’s teacher) all set poetry to music. However it was the ending quote that I found the most interesting! this lead me to wonder whether I can show the different nationalities more when I sing in different languages and whether this can colour my text and interpretation.

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At 12 o’clock George and I had a lesson with Turid Bakke Braut. We performed for her and worked in great depth on Møte. Together we explored the different options for phrasing the musical line in order to achieve a flowing thought. This was a very rewarding process as we delved into the musical depth of the peace. This resulted in a truly close connection to the poem and musical ideas.

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After a well-deserved lunch break we had an open panel discussion about performing Grieg songs with singers Njål Sparbo, Solveig Kringlebotn and pianists Einar Røttingen and Signe Bakke. This was especially interesting as the speakers explained their views on performing Grieg’s songs. The pianists recommended that the text must always have a sense of direction to enable the pianist to move and express the emotion of a harmonic progression.  Solveig explained her views in depth and they were so absorbing. She explained that Grieg wanted to write music that was sympathetic to the original intention of the poet . Njål encouraged us to take what had been discussed and incorporate it into our own performances. Einar recommended never to play different composers from the same era in the same way. This is because they should all be seen as sensitive and individual human beings who have their own stories to tell.
At 4 o’clock George and I then signed up to perform in the open masterclass, which was to be held in front of the musicologists and musicians together. There were seven participants overall and we performed fourth. Originally we decided to sing Ved Gjætle Bekken, but after connecting so strongly with Møte during the day we decided to take the risk of performing it because we wanted to gain as much insight and advice as possible. We performed the song in full and then we received great advice and input from multiple teachers and musicologists. This was brilliant as it allowed me to think about all the different options and alternatives that are available to a performer and it also gave me the confidence to make my own decisions on how I think the piece should be performed.

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After a quick bite to eat we met back up at 7 o’clock at Bergen public library it was here that we got the chance to see and touch Grieg’s original scores. This is a very exciting process is we could get a sense of the actual beginnings of the works, to experience the seed from which the music and ideas grew from.

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The Haugtussa Manuscript had a beautiful painting on it’s the front cover, sadly the artist is unknown. I went on to looking through the scores and I found that Grieg wrote the music in pen but the bar lines in pencil. Although it may seem like a simplistic thing to discover but it really spoke to me especially after all that I had learned today in the lectures. I wondered as I read through Grieg’s scores was this use of pencil intentional? Was there some glorious purpose behind it or maybe had his pen just run out of ink. We may never know.

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Then as the evening drew on we became enthralled as the library transformed into a bar as loads of people started to come in to meet and socialise. It was very different to our University library and created a fabulous atmosphere. Perhaps we don’t need to be quiet and libraries in the evening? It was lovely to spend some time with my fellow participants, share stories and discuss musical ideas.

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Tomorrow the conference is to be hosted by the musicologists and will be dominated by the Haugtussa cycle. I’m very excited to hear their ideas and take on their advice and information which I hope will help my performance of the work.

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