HENRIK IBSEN 1828-1906
into a lingering morning mood. The Death of Åse. Åse is Peer’s mother. Unaware that she is dying, Peer sits on her bed telling one outrageous story after another. But the music tells the truth — its deep poignancy is achieved by means of rich romantic harmony scored for strings alone. The opening melody does not come back; it turns instead into a series of descending phrases, each lower and softer than the last, ending with nothing. The listener suffers all the emotions that Peer seems incapable of feeling. At The Wedding serves as the overture to the whole play. The wedding is that of Ingrid, daughter of a rich farmer, which Peer attends. He imagines (and he is not wrong) that he still has a chance for love with the bride himself. At the wedding, he meets for the first time the lovely Solveig, with whom he is intermittently in love, and her song provides the contrasting episode, shared by plaintive clarinet and oboe. A second episode is provided by a solo viola playing snatches of the “Halling and Leaping Dance” that will close the first act.
—Hugh Macdonald © 2019
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The Cleveland Orchestra
May 23-25 Sibelius & Strauss May 30- June 1 An American in Paris