Melinda Coffey Armstead, piano & organ
Souvenirs of Norway
Lyrical pieces . . . Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)
“Lillehammer Suite” from the Norsk Salmebok
883 I himmelen
319 Lær meg å kjenne dine veie
398 I dag er nådens tid
257 Guds menighet
832 Jeg synger meg en blå salme
37 I denne søte juletid
Norsk Salmebok 882: Eg veit i himmerik ei borg
Morgenstimmung . . . Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)
Norsk Salmebok 812: Se, solens skjønne lys og prakt
Norwegian Wood . . . John Lennon & Paul McCarthy
What an extreme pleasure to be back and to see you all again! We returned from Scandinavia on August 9, after three weeks of wonderful sightseeing, perfect weather and no problems whatever, except for the jet lag caused solely by the inability of various countries to agree on what time it is. We spent 12 days on a cruise ship, thereby learning how not to be irritated by being pampered night and day in luxurious surroundings, a valuable lesson for later in life. During and after the cruise we visited cities in Denmark, Germany, Sweden, and Norway.
We stayed five days in Lillehammer as guests of Paul Wilmot, my former piano student. He now lives there, working as a professional organist and pianist. We attended two Lutheran church services there, where Paul played the organ. We sang the hymns, which were such beautiful surprises; their melodies, their harmonies, and their rhythms were all new to me. And the congregations sang ALL ten verses of all six hymns with enthusiasm. (Well, OK, sometimes there were only six or eight verses.) And the hymnbook had over a thousand hymns. They did not skip verses, which was a surprise, since the words were all Norwegian (playfully called “Norsk”) and thus made no sense whatever.
Paul chose some of his favorite hymns for me to bring back and play for you today.
They are all based on Norwegian folksongs. Notice the irregular phrase lengths (#257), the beautiful harmonizations (#319), and the rhythmic variety (#37 in 5/4 time).