The death of Aretha Franklin on August 16 got me thinking about singers in the gospel tradition, or who began their singing careers that way. I shared my thoughts with my wife and a friend. Naturally, I prefer some singers (meaning those who began as gospel singers) and some styles to others.
In a message to my friend, I noted that I had never really developed a taste for opera, but that — along with admiring many popular singers (meaning those who did not perform opera or classical music) — I have, over the years, developed a taste for the
lied or art song.
A Wikipedia entry notes that a favorite composer of mine, Carl Nielsen (Danish, 1865-1931), wrote over 290 songs and hymns. What I like most about his songs is their simplicity and directness, along with their beauty. They convey a certain emotional state so clearly.
Nielsen’s songs do not seem to be well known.
Below is a selection of my favorites.
— Roger W. Smith
Æbleblomst (Apple Blossom)
Den danske sang er en ung, blond pige (The Danish song is a young blonde girl)
Den milde dag er lys og lang (The mild day is light and long)
Der er et yndigt land (A fair and lovely land) – tenor
Der er et yndigt land (A fair and lovely land) – choir
Fatimas sang (Fatima’s song) – from Incidental Music to Aladdin
Forderligt at sige (Strange to say)
Hvor sódt i Sommeraftenstunden (How sweet is the summer evening)
Jeg bærer med Smil min Byrde (I take with a smile my burden) – baritone
Jeg bærer med Smil min Byrde (I take with a smile my burden) – choir
Jeg lægger mig saa trygt til ro (I am so comfortable at rest) – baritone
Jeg lægger mig saa trygt til ro (I am so comfortable at rest) – soprano
Jeg lægger mig saa trygt til ro (I am so comfortable at rest) – tenor
Min Jesus, lad mit Hjerte faa (My Jesus, let my heart obtain)
Min pige er saa lys som Rav (Like golden amber is my girl) – baritone
Min pige er saa lys som Rav (Like golden amber is my girl) – tenor
Nu er da Vaaren kommen (At last spring has come)
Sænk kun dit Hoved du Blomst (Lay down, sweet flower, your head)
Solen er saa rød, Mor (The sun is so red, Mother)
Tidt er jeg glad, og vil dog gerne græde (Oft am I glad, still may I weep from sadness)
Ud gaar du nu paa Livets Vej (Now you must find your path in life)
Hjemve: Underlige aftenlufte (Homesickness: strange evening breezes) – tenor
Hjemve: Underlige aftenlufte (Homesickness: strange evening breezes) – soprano