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.

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Edvard Grieg: Jeg elsker dig (I love you / Ich liebe dich)

4 04 2009
Thought of my thoughts alone have you become

"Thought of my thoughts alone have you become"

The thought of being so in love with someone that you want to be near them into eternity is quite romantic, so romantic, in fact, that once Grieg set Hans Christian Andersen’s poem Jeg elsker dig to music, it soon had multiple singing translations in German, English, and other languages (I have located numerous editions, all widely published and performed, with no less than two in German and five in English!) The song was included in the 1944 operetta Song of Norway by Robert Wright and George Forrest.