Composer: Edvard Grieg (b. 1843 - d. 1907)
Performance date: 05/07/2017
Venue: St. Brendan’s Church
Composition Year: 1895-8
Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm
Christopher Glynn -
Claire Booth - [soprano]
heartbreakingly beautiful song cycle is Grieg’s answer to
is a tale of a magical mountain and of Veslemøy,
feisty mountain maid, who has no fear of bears and wolves, but puts
her trust in a faithless lover.
loved a young woman with a marvellous voice and an equally marvellous
gift as an interpreter. This woman became my wife and has remained my
life’s companion to this day. She has been, I daresay, the only
true interpreter of my songs. My songs came to life naturally and
through a necessity like that of a natural law, and all of them were
written for her.
also tells us how he has written his songs. When
I write songs my principal goal is not to compose music but to do
justice to the poet’s most intimate intentions. My task is to allow
the text to speak – indeed to allow it to speak in a heightened
manner. If I have accomplished this, then the music itself has
succeeded. Otherwise it has not, beautiful though it may be.
it certainly is in this magical series of songs.
a long epic, strongly influenced by Norwegian folk poetry, and in his
settings Grieg only used a small portion of the epic, though it
appears that he originally intended to write a much larger work as he
sketched out another dozen songs. The cycle as composed tells the
story of a visionary young herd girl from the mountains in
south-western Norway. It is a tragic tale that echoes Schubert’s
story of the young miller, but here it is the girl that is rejected
and deserted by her lover.
the miller boy, Veslemøy
more comfortable communing with nature than with people, in her case
the mountain itself, her cows, her goats, the wild animals and the
mountain stream. Despite her cheerful relationship with her natural
surroundings, she falls in love with a boy from across the valley,
but one day he stops coming to their trysting place and she grieves
until her heart breaks. The last song echoes the end of Die
Schöne Müllerin as
the distraught girl seeks out the mountain stream to comfort her in
her loneliness in music that would break the heart of a stone.
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