With Odins Meeresritt
(1851), written in Norway while Loewe was recovering from the trauma of his daughter Adele’s death, the composer revisits the dark world of Scandinavian folk legend. The horse’s restless pawing, and (at the end) the strange glow and the soaring eagles are evoked as colourfully as the contrasting figures of the demonically driven Odin (= Wotan), king of the gods (from his music alone we know he is a giant), and the wary blacksmith. Memorable, too, is Loewe’s depiction of the expanding horseshoe (‘Es ist zu klein, da dehnt es sich aus’) in a slow crescendo and mysterious chromatic harmonies that grow to a dazzling brightness.
from notes by Richard Wigmore © 2011