Tag Archives: Edvard Grieg

a fleeting thought

 

 

An email of mine just now:

 

Janet and Scott —

 

When I hear Edvard Grieg’s “Spring,” I feel pathos.

Great beauty.

I also feel sad.

Very.

I feel aware of my own mortality.

It is a feeling of profound sadness.

 

 

https://rogersgleanings.com/2018/06/08/edvard-grieg-varen-spring/

Edvard Grieg, “Våren” (Spring)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted here are three versions of Edvard Grieg’s beautiful, indeed enchanting, song “Våren” (Spring), performed by a baritone, a soprano, and a mezzo-soprano.

Aasmund Olavsson Vinje (1818-1870), a famous Norwegian poet and journalist, wrote the words to the song. Grieg composed melodies for many of Vinje’s poems.

In Vinje’s poem, the speaker describes the beauty of the countryside in spring, appearing after the snow of winter; he thinks he might be seeing it for the last time.

 

 

*****************************************************

 

LYRICS

 

“Våren” (Norwegian)

 

Enno ein Gong fekk eg Vetren at sjaa for Vaaren at røma;
Heggen med Tre som der Blomar var paa eg atter saag bløma.
Enno ein Gong fekk eg Isen at sjaa fraa Landet at fljota,
Snjoen at braana, og Fossen i Aa at fyssa og brjota.

Graset det grøne eg enno ein Gong fekk skoda med blomar [eg seier hei]1
enno eg høyrde at Vaarfuglen song mot Sol og mot Sumar.
[Enno ein Gong den Velsignad eg fekk, at Gauken eg høyrde,
enno ein Gong ut paa Aakren eg gjekk, der Plogen dei kjøyrde.

Enno ein Gong fekk eg skoda meg varm paa Lufti og Engi;
Jordi at sjaa som med lengtande Barm at sukka i Sængi.
Vaarsky at leika der til og ifraa, og Skybankar krulla,
so ut av Banken tok Tora til slaa og kralla og rulla.

Saagiddren endaa meg unntest at sjaa paa Vaarbakken dansa.
Fivreld at floksa og fjuka ifraa, der Blomar seg kransa.
Alt dette Vaarliv eg atter fekk sjaa, som sidan eg miste.
Men eg er tungsam og spyrja meg maa: tru det er det siste?

Lat det so vera: Eg myket av Vænt i Livet fekk njota.
Meire eg fekk en eg havde fortent, og Alting maa trjota.]1
Eingong eg sjølv i den vaarlege Eim, som mettar mit Auga,
eingong eg der vil meg finna ein Heim og symjande lauga.

Alt det som Vaaren imøte meg bar, og Blomen eg plukkad’,
Federnes Aander eg trudde det var, som dansad’ og sukkad’.
Derfor eg fann millom Bjørkar og Bar i Vaaren ei Gaata;
derfor det Ljod i den Fløyta eg skar, meg tyktest at graata.

 

 

“Våren” (Last Spring; English)

 

Yes, once again winter’s face would I see
to Spring’s glory waning,
whitethorn outspreading its clusters so free
in beauty enchaining.

Once more behold from the earth day by day
the ice disappearing,
snow melting fast and in thunder and spray
the river, careering.

Emerald meadows, your flow’rets I’ll spy
and hail each new comer;
listen again to the lark in the sky
who warbles of summer.

Glittering sunbeams how fain would I watch
on bright hillocks glancing,
butterflies seeking from blossoms to snatch
their treasures while dancing.

Spring’s many joys once again would I taste
ere fade they forever.
But, heavy-hearted, I feel that I haste
from this world to sever.

So be it then! yet in Nature so fair
much bliss I could find me;
over and past is my plentiful share,
I leave all behind me.

Once more I’m drawn to the Spring-gladdened vale
that stilleth my longing;
there I find sunlight and rest without fail,
and raptures come thronging.

All unto which here the Spring giveth birth,
each flow’r I have riven,
seems to me now I am parting from the earth
a spirit from Heaven.

Therefore I hear all around from the ground
mysterious singing,
music from reeds that of old I made sound,
like sighs faintly ringing.

 

(I cannot account for the discrepancy in number of stanzas and lines. I downloaded the lyrics from the internet.)

 

 

*****************************************************

 

Recently I shared my thoughts about the lyrics with a friend, and tried to interpret them, as follows:

 

Spring’s many joys once again would I taste
ere fade they forever.
But, heavy-hearted, I feel that I haste
from this world to sever.

 

I WELCOME SPRING, BUT AM HEAVY HEARTED, BECAUSE I REALIZE THAT MY DAYS ARE NUMBERED.

 

So be it then! yet in Nature so fair
much bliss I could find me; …

 

THE SPEAKER ACCEPTS FATE, BUT ALSO SAYS THAT IT HAS BEEN HIS JOY TO EXPERIENCE THE BLISS OF NATURE — IN THE PAST, AND IT SEEMS THAT THE SPEAKER IS SAYING, EVEN NOW (?).

 

Once more I’m drawn to the Spring-gladdened vale
that stilleth my longing;
there I find sunlight and rest without fail,
and raptures come thronging.

 

THE POEM ENDS ON AN AFFIRMATIVE NOTE … WITH THE SPEAKER’S REALIZATION THAT THE SUNLIGHT AND RAPTURES OF SPRING ARE STILL HIS TO ENJOY (AND TAKE WITH HIM TO HEAVEN).

 

I am not sure if my interpretation(s) is correct. It is a complex poem, both happy (joyous over the arrival of spring) and sad (the old man realizes that he will not live much longer — long enough to see many more springs).

 

— Roger W. Smith

   June 2018

 

 

*****************************************************

 

Addendum:

 

In the period 1877-1880, Grieg produced a set of songs as his Op. 33 on texts by a man some called the peasant-poet of Norway, Aasmund Vinje (1818 – 1870). The composer had been greatly inspired by the then-late poet’s verses, so much so that after completing the set, he decided to arrange two of its songs for string orchestra, this one (“The Last Spring”) and “The Wounded Heart.” He made piano versions of them as well. “The Last Spring” is a sad piece, but sad in the heart-on-sleeve sense of Tchaikovsky, not in the dark, neurotic manner of Mahler.

In the song version, the text tells of a dying man who is aware he is observing his last spring. The main theme in the instrumental versions is nostalgic and features considerable expressive depth, especially considering Grieg’s penchant for lightness of mood even in melancholy works. It has an air of resignation about it, but as it struggles on, its manner sweetens a bit, nearly suggesting hope. Still, these brighter moments are only fleeting, as the music remains largely dark and anguished. The piano version is perhaps a bit bleaker, but also less lyrical than the warmer string orchestra account.

 

https://www.allmusic.com/composition/v%C3%A5ren-last-spring-elegiac-melody-for-orchestra-or-piano-no-2-op-34-2-mc0002502340

 

 

*****************************************************

 

See also my post:

 

a piano version of Edvard Grieg, “Våren” (Spring)

 

https://rogersgleanings.com/2016/12/19/edvard-grieg-til-varen-to-spring-op-43-no-6/

Grieg, “Solvejgs Lied” (Solveig’s Song”)

 

 

Posted here are three renditions (versions) of Edvard Grieg’s “Solveig’s Song”:

 

 

 

soloist (soprano with piano)

 

 

 

soprano with orchestra

 

 

 

piano solo

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   June 2018

 

 

 

*****************************************************

 

 

LYRICS

 

 

Solvejgs Lied

Kanske vil der gå både Vinter og Vår
Og naeste Sommer med, op det hele År
Men engang vil du komme, det ved jeg visst.
Her skal jeg nok vente, for det lovte jeg sidst.

Gud styrke dig, hvor du i Verden går
Gud glaede dig, hvis du for hans fodskammel står
Her skal jeg vente till du komme igjen
Og vente du hisst oppe, vi traeffes der, min Ven!

 

 

Solveig’s Song

 

Perhaps there will go both winter and spring,
And next summer also and the whole year,
But onetime you will come, I know this for sure,
And I shall surely wait for I promised that last.

God strengthen you where you go in the world,
God give you joy if you before his footstool stand,
Here shall I wait until you come again,
And if you wait above, we’ll meet there again, my friend!

Grieg, “Homesickness”

 

 

 

As a follow up to my post from a day or two ago

“Edvard Grieg, “Heimweh” (Homesickness)”

 

https://rogersgleanings.com/2018/05/15/edvard-grieg-heimweh-homesickness/

 

Here is another outstanding rendition of the same piece.

 

— Roger W. Smith

   May 2018

Edvard Grieg, “Heimweh” (Homesickness)

 

 

 

 

 

Posted here is a short piano piece by the Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (1843–1907): “Heimweh” (Homesickness).

It is one of the Lyric Pieces (Norwegian: Lyriske stykker), a collection of 66 short pieces for solo piano written by Grieg over a period spanning the years 1867 to 1901 and published in ten volumes. “Heimweh” was part of Book VI, Op. 57, comprised of six pieces published in 1893.

The piece intrigues me. Besides being emotionally engaging and completely descriptive, there is the contrast between the mournful opening theme, which expresses so well the feeling of homesickness, with a brief interlude of energetic, seemingly cheerful music, followed again by the opening theme.

I realized quite a while ago when I purchased CD’s of Grieg’s complete piano music, and also of his songs, that he excels in miniature works. His music is very “pictorial.” It is anything but abstract — I guess one would say — and is the polar opposite of works by “cerebral” composers such as ______ (Bach? Stravinsky? I am sure you readers of this post can come up with better examples).

Enjoy the piece.

 

 

*****************************************************

 

There is an excellent article by New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini:

“Respect at Last for Grieg?”

The New York Times

September 16, 2007

 

which strongly makes the case for Grieg.

 

 

— Roger W. Smith

   May 2018

Edvard Grieg, solo piano music

 

 

The Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (1843-1907), himself a pianist, wrote hundreds of piano works, ranging from his well known Piano Concerto in A minor to a plethora of works for solo piano.

The works for solo piano are essentially tone poems, and Grieg is a master at painting scenes from daily life and depicting universal emotions that one can feel — it’s as if something auditory can be visualized or experienced with other senses (e.g., tactile).

I have posted here 14 of my personal favorites, focusing on pieces that exemplify Grieg’s genius for capturing a mood or depicting a scene. It seems to me that he comes close to being unrivaled in this respect. He does the same thing, by the way, in his lieder.

 

— Roger W. Smith

     January 2017

 

 

Continue reading