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Grøn er vårens hæk. Elisabeth Meyer-Topsøe sings Danish Songs
Niels W. GADE (1817-1890)

Grøn er vårens hæk (1852)
(The Snow Queen) (1850)
(Green is the hedge of spring)
Martsviolerne (1850)
(The March violets)
J.P.E. HARTMANN (1805-1890)

Vintergæk (1896)
Violen (1896)
(The violet)
Stork! Stork! Langeben (1847)
(Stork! Stork! Long-leg!)
Lær mig nattens stjerne (1866)
(Teach me, star of the night)

Den unge lærkes forårssang (1866)
(Spring song of the young lark)
Liden Karen
(Little Karen)
Sol deroppe ganger under lide (ca 1849)
(The sun up there is descending)
C.E.F. WEYSE (1774-1842)

Storken sidder på bondens tag (1837)
(The stork is sitting on the farmer¹s roof)
Dybt skoven bruser (1803)
(The deep forest is whispering)
Morgenstund har guld i mund (1837)
(Early morning is golden)

Solen springer ud som rose (1896)
(The sun is out like a rose)
Genboens første vise (1880)
(The neighbour¹s first song)
Ved solnedgang (1880)
(At sunset)

Våren er kommen (1917)
(Spring has come)
Friedrich KUHLAU

Der vanker en ridder (1828)
(There is a knight)
En yndig og frydefuld sommertid (ca 1850)
(Lovely and joyful summertime)
Det haver så nyligen regnet
(It has been raining only just now)
Nu løvsalen skygger (1828)
(Now the bower gives shade)

O, fordum elskte steder! (1782)
(Oh places that I used to love)
Genboens første vise
Sig månen langsomt hæver (1790)
(The moon is slowly rising)
Rudolf BAY

Fred hviler over land og by (1827)
(Peace has descended on country and town)
Elisabeth Meyer-Topsøe (soprano)
Per Salo (piano)
Recorded at Focus Recording Studio, Copenhagen, September 2004


This is, to employ two clichés, hot off the press (I’m reviewing it two months after the recording date) and quite hard on the heels of Elisabeth Meyer-Topsøe’s previous release in this series reviewed by me almost exactly a year ago now.

The menu is very much as before – settings divided thematically; folk songs, Evening Songs, Morning Songs and songs of Spring and Summer. There are familiar composers as well, notably Weyse, Schulz, Lange-Müller, Gade and Hartmann, and an equally familiar presence at the keyboard in the shape of the adept Per Salo. The songs range in date from 1782 to Henriques’ 1917 setting. I wondered rhetorically before whether Meyer-Topsøe’s soprano might not prove too resonant for some of these simpler settings, a fear that provided ultimately unfounded then – and certainly now.

Everything in fact seems particularly attractive and simpatico. Of the light ballads there’s the verdancy of Gade’s Grøn er vårens hæk and rather nearer to home, the parlour in fact, we can enjoy Hartmann’s 1896 setting of Violen. Cleverly the compilers juxtapose poems about those denizens of the rooftops, storks, in settings by Hartmann and Weyse (set a decade apart). The former is full of whimsical humour, the latter bathed in the seriousness and amplitude of Whitsun hymnal. Henriques, a fine pianist and an even better violinist who made a number of 78s in both capacities, contributes a nobly stirring, manly, almost Elgarian setting. In the section on Love and Longing we find Schulz’s very Handelian O, fordum elskte steder! (1782) but Kuhlau’s influence was more Schubertian as his Nu løvsalen skygger shows. Meanwhile Hartmann reveals his debts to Mendelssohn and Schumann in a couple of his settings, Rudolf Bay is stuck fast in the School of Schubert but attractively so.

The booklet is attractively designed with pertinent notes – the texts are in Danish and English and the sound quality is first rate. If you snapped up the earlier volume then you’ll want to snap up this.

Jonathan Woolf


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