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2.110319 - MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) - NORWAY: The Peer Gynt Road / Lake Mjosa / Oslo (NTSC)
A Musical Visit to Norway
The Peer Gynt Road
The hero of Ibsen’s play Peer Gynt has assumed an enhanced legendary status, from his origin in Norwegian folk-tales. The Peer Gynt Road perpetuates this. It is a road that follows a semicircular route through striking scenery, passing through Golå and reaching a height of 3000 feet (915 metres). A traditional cottage interior suggests the way of life in the countryside.
Music Grieg: Peer Gynt, Op 23, Act I: Prelude
Among the best known music that Grieg wrote is the incidental score for Ibsen’s verse drama Peer Gynt, eventually staged in Christiania (modern Oslo) in 1876. The Prelude to the first act suggests the wedding that the braggart and adventurer Peer is soon to interrupt and the later song given to Solveig, whom he now meets for the first time.
The Peer Gynt Road
The region through which the Peer Gynt Road passes in the Norwegian Oppland is at the heart of the country. Peer Gynt’s traditional farm, now privately owned, is at Hågå, near Vinstra, at one end of the route.
Music Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite No 1, Op 46 – I. Morning
Suite No 1 starts with Morning, its melody based on the tuning of the traditional Norwegian hardanger fiddle. In the drama the piece introduces Act IV, set on the coast of Morocco.
Lake Mjøsa is the largest in Norway and is surrounded by mountains, with the great hills of the Dovrefjell to the north.
Music Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite No 1, Op 46 – II. Aase’s Death
Act II ends with the death of Peer Gynt’s mother, Aase.
Norwegian Folk Museum, Oslo (Children’s Dance Troupe)
At the Norwegian Folk Museum children, in traditional costume, dance to the sound of the Norwegian fiddle, the hardanger.
Music Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite No 1, Op 46 – III. Anitra’s Dance
Anitra’s Dance, in Act IV, welcomes Peer Gynt to Morocco, greeting him as lord and master, in his Arab robes.
Hunder-Trollet, Hundefossen, Lekeland
Lillehammer, the site of the 1994 Winter Olympics, lies at the north of Lake Mjøsa and six miles or so further north is Hundefossen with its Lekeland (Playland). Among other attractions aimed at the young are figures of the legendary demons of Norwegian folk-lore, trolls.
Music Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite No 1, Op 46 – IV. In the Hall of the Mountain King
The suite ends with music from Act II, a scene in the land of Trolls and of the Old Man of Dovre, whose daughter Peer courts and whose kingdom he covets.
The banks of the great lake provide fertile farming land, rising to forests and then rocky slopes.
Music Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite No 2, Op 55 – I. Ingrid’s Lament
Suite No 2 begins with the Lament of Ingrid, which starts Act II, set on a high mountaintrack. Peer has abducted Ingrid from her wedding and now plans to betray her.
National Museum, Oslo
19th century paintings of North African scenes, camels, dancers, a cobbler and a view of a typical town, make a suitable accompaniment to Peer Gynt’s time in Morocco.
Music Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite No 2, Op 55 – II. Arabian Dance
The Arabian Dance is from the scene of Peer Gynt in Morocco in Act IV.
Norwegian Maritime Museum, Oslo • Landscape; Norwegian Folk Museum (Children’s Dance Troupe)
The Sjøfartsmuseum (Maritime Museum) in Oslo offers a history of boat-building, a skill on which the country has traditionally depended, with an example of the traditional sailing vessel anchored in the harbour.
Music Grieg: Peer Gynt Suite No 2, Op 55 – III. Peer Gynt’s Homecoming and IV. Solveig’s Song
In Act V Peer returns home from his adventures, now an old man. An interlude in Act IV shows Solveig, in middle age, waiting alone for the return of her errant husband, ready to accept him once more.
It is possible to travel by boat along Lake Mjøsa, a journey best enjoyed by paddle steamer. The lake is some 142 square miles in area.
Music Grieg: Sigurd Jorsalfar, Op 56 – I. Introduction – In the King’s Hall
Grieg’s incidental music for Bjørnson’s historical play Sigurd Jorsalfar was written for the staging of the work in 1872. The music, written in some haste, consisted of eight pieces, two of them songs. The Prelude is set in the hall of the Crusader King.
Norwegian Maritime Museum and Viking Ship Museum, Oslo
The main Viking site discovered in Norway is at Oseberg. The Viking ship, now in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, is 65 feet in length and characteristic in shape, preserved as part of a ship burial.
Music Grieg: Sigurd Jorsalfar, Op 56 – II. Intermezzo: Borghild’s Dream
Borghild’s Dream, in the first act of the play, has the heroine, Borghild, lying in restless sleep, then waking.
Oslo, the capital of Norway, formerly known as Christiania, is the site of Ibsen’s National Theatre and historic buildings that include the 14th century Akershus Fortress, originally built as a protection against marauders from Sweden and Denmark. The Slottet (Royal Palace), with its imposing classical façade, is approached along the busy Karl Johansgate. Statues commemorate figures of distinction in the history of the country.
Music Grieg: Sigurd Jorsalfar, Op 56 – III. Homage March
To the sound of a march Sigurd Jorsalfar is reconciled to his enemy, with the music rising to a festive climax.
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