The Glacier is Silent
The recordings of works of Johansen and Tveitt below are part of an ongoing project to record works by Norwegian composers. Aside from Edvard Grieg, most Norwegian composers are generally unknown and rarely performed in America. The works below were performed on both east and west coasts in the US in the '16-'17 recital season. That program, including works by Grieg, Johansen, Sinding, and Tveitt, has since expanded to include more works by Tveitt and in future concerts will include other compositions by Johansen and Harald Sæverud in addition to other beloved masterworks from traditional classical piano repertoire.
David Monrad Johansen
To Portrætter fra Middelalderen (Two Portraits from the Middle Ages) Op. 8
i. Fruga Ermelin
ii. Steinfinn Fefinnson
These two pieces are both based on ancient Norwegian poems telling heroic tales of rescue. The first is likely intended to portray the unfortunate captivity of the King's daughter Fruga Ermelin. She is mentioned by name once in the legend of Åsmund Fregdegjeva, a man recruited by the king to rescue her from abduction. Her captivity is portrayed by a broad, expansive, glacially slow opening, painting an ethereal scene of solitude, cold, and beautiful severity.
The second piece is by contrast a portrait of a daring rescue on horseback, executed by Steinfinn Fefinnson, a man on an expedition to rescue his sisters, who a battles and kills the mythical gygremor (female jotun giant) before taking on defeating several small trolls who attempt to avenge her death. The music itself will tell you when they are found.
Selections from "Femti Folkatonar frao Hardanger"
i. Vél komne med æra (Welcome with honour)
ii. Folgafodne fortel ingjenting (The Glacier Says Nothing, or The Glacier is Silent)
iii. Dan långje långje vettranåttæ (The Long, Long Winter Night)
Tveitt from a young age began collecting folk tunes in Norway. Though born in Bergen, he spent much time with his family in Hardanger, in western Norway, and transcribed 100 folk tunes from that region for orchestra in his own entirely distinctive style, capitalizing upon their modal idioms with compact counterpoint and French-influenced harmony. 50 of these folk tunes were also transcribed for piano, and the texts for two of them are provided below.
Photo: Roar Johansen
Vél komne med æra
Vé’ no vélkomne med æra
hèr ska’ me sitjande vèra
sitja I Guds fred
vaore grannar tre.
Folgafodne fortel ingjenting
Langt in um Matkjelkedal stølen va da
eg og Marita gjek villt,
Me kunde’kje spyrja fossane,
á Fodnæ ho svara stillt.
Be welcome with honour,
here we shall be seated,
seated in the peace of God,
our neighbours three.
It was far away beyond the Matkjelkjedal hill farm
that Marita and I got lost.
We could not ask the waterfalls
and the glacier answered quietly.