Edvard Grieg: Med en primulaveris (With a Mayflower)

15 05 2010

by steve_chilton (CC)

When I was in San Diego earlier this spring, my dear friend Dr. Marla Fogderud taught for me while I was gone. She’s a specialist in Norwegian repertoire, and when I returned, I was pleased that a handful of students were working on Grieg songs (in Norwegian!) Grieg’s songs are carefully constructed miniatures, always well-balanced, nuanced, and colorful. I, for one, relished the opportunity to become more familiar with some of these gems.

I must confess, I had no idea that primulaveris was a flower until looking it up just now. Otherwise known as cowslip or mayflower,  it’s one of the first flowers of spring in most of Europe. This song cautions against rushing through spring to summer — a message I can definitely take to heart. The song has a simple, repetitive quality to it, but a broad, arching line which allows the listener to revel in the beauty of spring.


You mild spring, beautiful child,
Take the first spring plum,
and cast it not aside, because you know
that Summer’s roses come.

Alas, bright and beautiful is summer’s light
and rich is life’s harvest,
but spring is lovelier
with the pleasure and caprice of love.

And you and I, my slender maiden,
are we not flushed with the spring?
So take my flower
and give back your young heart’s sweetness.

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One response

28 12 2010
Helen

Hey Paul

We’ve been working on the Greig songs a lot over the last year or so, and have developed quite a list. You might like to take a look at: http://www.youraccompanist.com/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=178&Itemid=116

Michael has got the remaining Greig songs in rehearsal and we’re looking forward to getting them up on the site soon. We’ll keep you posted. Are there any particular favourites of yours we should prioritise?

Happy New Year when it comes!

Best wishes:- Helen and the team at YourAccompanist

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