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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Thanks, #Grieg, by John von Daler


                               I love #Grieg's music. I could probably find some theoretical reason in my stockroom of musical judgements, but somehow his very music precludes intellectual thoughts. Let me tell you a little story instead.

                We were on tour in Norway, a famous Danish singer and I and our families. We had rented a minibus and we drove it through the mountains in southern Norway, across small streams. on tiny ferries, around large lakes surrounded by green peaks. It was summer.
                Our mood had been influenced by a bad start on our trip. I had rented a cheap car in Denmark that broke down somewhere in Sweden. But we had gotten the help we needed and now we were driving in a new Volkswagon through the idyllic countryside.
                Somebody said it's hot, let's take a swim. None of us had brought a bathing suit, so we decided to find a secluded lake and swim there. After all we were not embarrassed about skinny-dipping in front of each other, but we did not fancy passing motorists seeing our bare fannies, even if just for a second.
                At a gas station I bought a tape with Grieg's music. We put it on the car's player, Peer Gynt, and drove past lake after lake looking for one without other swimmers and away from the highway. As we drove, Grieg's music started to pull everything together. The mountains, the green, green grass, the deep blue lakes and fjords, and the golden sun all worked together. The whole car fell into a kind of sweet revery.
                Norway has a lot of lakes, so we were choosy: Not that one, there's somebody on a raft! This one's too big! The highway goes by the only bathing spot!
                Finally after ten or eleven lakes we found ours and with Grieg streaming out of the car we sprang into the sparkling water.
                I have seldom been as happy.
                I always wanted to thank Grieg and Norway for that day. Some years back I did my own recreation of Ibsen's poem, Terje Vigen in translation from Norwegian to Danish. Then I wrote a piano piece to accompany the reading. Here it is. If you play the piano or know somebody who does, play it while you imagine yourself staring at a blue sky lying on your back on a warm day in a cool lake surrounded by mountains. Then you will know what I mean.
                This piece of music is a little gift from me to you and to Grieg. Thank you, Grieg.


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