Nordic Ballads

Nordic Ballads

Emanuele Torquati, piano

During Romanticism the Ballad’s form was explored by numerous poets and writers, as well as by some important composers, and maybe the most famous one was Chopin.
This project is meant to be a collection of a very specific genre of Ballads, coming from Nordic legends and/or from Nordic tradition. In Brahms op. 10 for example, the first one is directly inspired by the Scottish Ballad “Edward”, taken from Herder’s “Stimmen der Voelker”, and also in Zemlinsky rare set of Four Ballads the literary inspiration is evident, with the quotation of poem’s couplets in the first one, “Archibald Douglas”, an ancient tale by Theodor Fontane, as well in the second, “Der Koenig von Thule”, based on well-known Goethe’s Faust.
This fil rouge recalling to a nordic setting is present also in Grieg’s most important work for piano solo, the extensive Ballad in form of Variations op. 24, which is based on a Norwegian folk tune and was written shortly after his parents death occured in 1875. Ideal pendant of this evocative piece is the recent and obscure Ballade composed by renowned Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho in 2005 for pianist Emmanuel Ax.

Kaija Saariaho (1952)

Ballade (2005)

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

Vier Balladen op. 10 (1854)

Alexander von Zemlinsky (1871-1942)

Vier Balladen (1892-1893)

Archibald Douglas
Der König von Thule
Der Wassermann

Edvard Grieg (1843-1907)

Ballade op. 24
in Form von Variationen ueber eine norwegische Melodie (1876)