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An Afternoon with Edvard Grieg & Ralph Vaughan Williams

  • First Presbyterian Church of Oakland 2619 Broadway Oakland, CA, 94612 United States (map)
Peer Gynt in the Hall of the Mountain King.   Theodor Severin Kittelson (1890)

Peer Gynt in the Hall of the Mountain King.   Theodor Severin Kittelson (1890)


Edvard Grieg [1843 - 1907]

              To be sung in Norwegian   

          with Igor Vieira, baritone soloist

                  (visit his website to view his impressive credentials)  

From Peer Gynt

  • Pinsealme

  • The Death of Aase

Fire Salmer (Four Psalms) Op. 74

  • Hvad est du dog skjön

  • Guds Sön har gjort mig fri

  • Jesus Kristus ed opfaren

  • I Himmelen


Ralph Vaughan Williams [1872 - 1958]

Five English Folk Songs

  • The Dark-Eyed Sailor

  • The Spring-Time of the Year

  • Just as the Tide Was Flowing

  • The Lover's Ghost

  • Wassail Song

  • Rest

Five Mystical Songs

  • Easter

  • I Got Me Flowers

  • Love Bade Me Welcome

  • The Call

  • Antiphon



Edvard Grieg remains the most important Norwegian composer of the later 19th century, a period of growing national consciousness. In the late 1800s, Mr. Grieg met and befriended Henrik Ibsen, and supplied incidental music to Ibsen's play Peer Gynt. The premiere was performed to critical acclaim and eventually led to Grieg's scoring of Peer Gynt into two suites.  While “In the Hall of the Mountain King” is more familiar to most, “The Death of Aase” has been used in many film and television productions, most notably as background music during a death scene in Soylent Green and in an episode of The Simpsons when Norwegian workers were forced to leave their poverty-stricken town and emigrate to Springfield.  The “Fire Salmer” Op. 74 (Four Psalms) was his last choral work and is based upon a collection of Norwegian mountain tunes that Grieg wanted to help preserve.  It had its premier on 4 February 1908, one year after his death.

Ralph Vaughan Williams transcribed melodies from the vast oral tradition of English folk music and incorporated folk tunes into his own orchestral and choral pieces.  He wrote Five English Folk Songs in 1913 as a choral piece with five movements. The Five Mystical Songs were written between 1906 and 1911, as settings of four poems (the first, "Easter," divided into two parts) by the 17th-century Welsh-born English poet and Anglican priest George Herbert, from his 1633 collection The Temple: Sacred Poems.  The score of the first two of the mystical songs owes something to the example of Sir Edward Elgar, and the opening song “Easter” establishes the nature of the whole cycle, with ardent religiosity combined with a wholly acceptable romantic inclination. The second song, “I Got Me Flowers,” is a fine example of Vaughan Williams’s ability to express emotion with the simplest arrangement of notes, while the third, “Love Bade Me Welcome,” has a muted string accompaniment that creates a perfect foil for the words. The use of the Corpus Christi chant, ‘O sacrum convivium’ as a wordless chorus set against the baritone soloist’s words ‘You must sit down … ’ has been called masterful.  “The Call,” the fourth song in the set, uses a tune that might have come from the distant past but was in fact a typical invention of Mr. Vaughan Williams. The work received its first performance on 14 September 1911, at the Three Choirs Festival inWorcester, with Mr. Vaughan Williams conducting. (Hyperion Records)