Hyperion Records

Herr Oluf, Op 2 No 2
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Like Erlkönig, Herr Oluf (1821) draws on the sixteenth-century Danish legend in which anyone who encounters elves is doomed to die. (Herder, incidentally, mistranslates the Danish eller (= ‘elf’) as Erle (= ‘alder tree’).) The piano introduction suggests the lure of the fairy dance and tinkling bells. Then the Erlking’s daughter introduces herself with solemn formality. But the diminished seventh chord on ‘Hand’ gives an ominous warning; and her siren song, marked pp sotto voce, creates a subtly sinister effect by rising through a minor-keyed arpeggio but landing on the leading note, a semitone below the expected tonic. After the frantic horse ride of the central verses and the anxious questioning of Oluf’s mother, a graceful Andantino evokes the innocence of Oluf’s bride. But the Erlking’s daughter has done her work. And, in a final stroke, Oluf’s death comes in a phrase that slyly inverts the fatal seduction song.

from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2011

Track-specific metadata
Details for CDA67866 track 4
Artists
ISRC
GB-AJY-11-86604
Duration
6'13
Recording date
25 May 2010
Recording venue
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Mark Brown
Recording engineer
Julian Millard
Hyperion usage
  1. Loewe: Songs & Ballads (CDA67866)
    Disc 1 Track 4
    Release date: May 2011
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