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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Hartmann: Liden Kirsten; Grieg: Peer Gynt

09/17/2017 1:00 pm
09/17/2017 4:30 pm


Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

Let's look into the history of opera in Scandinavia. Liden Kirsten is a pioneering work of Danish opera. Denmark's leading composer of the nineteenth century, J. P. E. Hartmann (1805-1900) collaborated with the world-famous Danish writer, Hans Christian Andersen, whose libretto for "Little Kirsten" incorporates examples of old Danish folk ballads. Hartmann set the ballads to melodies inspired by Danish folk song. "Little Kirsten" is a chivalric romance taking place circa 1100 AD.

The opera received its definitive recording through Dacapo Records. That recording was made in 1998 in co-production with Radio Denmark. It employs the musical resources of the Danish National Radio Symphony and Choir, Michael Schonwandt conducting. I last broadcast Liden Kirsten on Sunday, September 12, 1999.

After Hans Christian Andersen, Scandinavia's next most famous writer in the nineteenth century would certainly be the Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen. Norway's most famous composer, Edvard Grieg, provided the incidental music for Ibsen's play Peer Gynt in 1876. Keep listening for the complete incidental music, which includes solo singing and choral numbers. (Jarvi/ Gothenburg Sympyhony/ Gosta Ohlin's Vocal Ens. /Pro Musica Chamber Choir /Deutsche Grammophon, 1987.)