Magazine article Gramophone

Grieg: Haugtussa. Six Songs, Op 25

Magazine article Gramophone

Grieg: Haugtussa. Six Songs, Op 25

Article excerpt

Grieg

Haugtussa. Six Songs, Op 25.

Twelve Songs, Op 33

Marianne Beate Kielland mez

Nils Anders Mortensen pf

LAWO Classics [F] LWC1059 (75' * DDD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

This all-Grieg recital opens with Haugtussa, surely one of the most loveable song-cycles outside the German-language repertoire. Like a Nordic Frauenliebe und -leben, it follows the story of a shepherd girl's first love from early enchantment to loneliness and despair, set against a chill northern landscape of blueberry fields and mountain brooks. The mezzo-soprano Marianne Beate Kielland brings to it a gleaming voice, lit with cool sunlight from the north, and a native Norwegian's way with the words. There is a simplicity and directness about this performance, mirrored in Nils Anders Mortensen's accompaniments, that brings a deep-seated kind of satisfaction.

Kielland couples Haugtussa with two complete sets of songs, the twelve Op 33 songs to poems by Vinje and six Op 25 songs to poems by Ibsen. In these the tone is immediately more varied, from the dark, tragic mood of 'Guten' ('The Youth') through to the playful 'Med en vandlilje' ('With a waterlily', a favourite Schwarzkopf encore, though here with sentimentality briskly banished). …

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