The Haugtussa lieder is a song cycle written by Grieg, and it features a song about goats.
Yes, you read that right.
You see, the story of the cycle centres around a young Norwegian girl living somewhere in the mountains, and she is a goatherd who happens to be able to talk to trolls. It follows her through about a month of her life, at the end of which she decides men are useless and she’s going to be a witch.
It is completely wonderful.
Mezzosoprano Emma Brown and I have been performing parts of the cycle for years now. The first time we played the Goat Dance was nine years ago. It’s remained one of our favourites since then, largely because it is completely hilarious and silly. Last year, we added some more songs from the cycle to our active repertoire. Recently we thought – why not do the whole cycle?
The two of us have created a programme of about forty minutes, consisting of the Haugtussa Cycle interspersed with five of Liszt’s Consolations. The reason we chose for the Consolations is that Haugtussa’s life is very dramatic and dreadful, what with her being a teenager. Basically we figured she needed some consoling in between the pieces.
The first time we performed the programme was in the Hooglandse Kerk, on March 11th. Our audience consisted of the sponsors and friends of the Hooglandse Kerk. Since these are very serious people, the atmosphere was quite serious at the start.
We had them giggling by the time the goats came around.
The programme proved a resounding success, and we shall definitely be performing it again in the near future. Our second performance is currently planned at the end of April.
Check back for updates on precisely when & where!