Sæterjentens Søndag (The Dairymaid's Sunday) for String Trio
Ole Bull (1810-1880) was born in the Norwegian city of Bergen. He became a famous violin virtuoso and composer. As a boy he studied violin with his mother and local teachers, but was largely self-taught, although some scholars believe he may have some violin lessons from Heinrich Ernst, another violin virtuoso. Bull is thought to have composed at least 70 works, most of which are now lost. The most famous of those which have survived is Sæterjentens Søndag (generally translated in English as the Dairymaid’s or Shepherdess’ Sunday and surprisingly in French as Solitude on the Mountain and in German as the Longing of the Dairymaid).
The work, which became tremendously popular, was originally for violin and piano but was quickly made into a song and then given many different arrangements. One of the best was by the Norwegian composer Johan Svendsen (1840-1911). Svendsen was born in Christiana (now Oslo) and was formally trained on the violin both in Norway and at the Leipzig Conservatory. A nerve problem in his hand forced him to give up any thought of being a soloist and he concentrated on composition, which he studied with Carl Reinecke. Subsequently, he became one of Scandinavia’s best known composers and conductors, especially in Denmark.
This fine arrangement by Svendsen would make a fine encore in the concert hall and, of course, will be enjoyed by amateurs