Four Norwegian Folk Songs for String Quartet, Op.33 (Volume 9)
Moritz Kässmayer (1831-1884) was born in Vienna and spent his entire life there. He studied at the Vienna Conservatory after which he served as a violinist in the Vienna Philharmonic and later as Director of Ballet Music for the Austrian Imperial Court Opera. He mostly composed chamber music, the most famous of which are his Humorous and Contrapuntal Volkslieder or Folk Songs for String Quartet, which appeared in 13 separate volumes, each containing four folk songs from different nations or parts of Austria. He also wrote five serious string quartets and a string quintet for 2 violas. The Volkslieder were composed between 1853 and 1880 and range from Op.14 to Op.41. They were not all published until after the composer’s death in 1885, the first appearing in 1873.
The four Norwegian folk songs in Volume 9 are Sag du nokke te kjerringe mi / Have you by chance seen my wife, Springlatt / Leaping (or springing) dance, Rabnabryllup I kraakalund / The Ravens wedding in Kraakalund, and Halling / A traditional folk dance. While all of these folk songs were well-known in Norway, it was Edvard Grieg's arrangement of them first for piano and later for orchestra which brought them fame throughout Europe. Here, Kässmayer's settings are particularly humorous. The Ravens' Wedding rather than being a joyous affair sounds more like a funeral and certainly one would never guess from the music that the title to the song was Have you by chance seen my wife.
Playing Kässmayer's Humorous and Contrapuntal Folksongs reminds us to laugh. When is the last time you heard an audience laugh at a “humorous” finale to a Haydn string quartet? The folksongs are German, Bohemian, Styrian, Hungarian, Norwegian, Austrian and Viennese. These are all fun to play and very finely written. Kässmayer was awarded the Imperial Austrian Medal for Art and Culture which clearly reflects how highly respected he and his music were.
Of course, we offer all 13 volumes separately and at a lower price than you can purchase them elsewhere. Even so, if you were to purchase all 13 from us separately the total would be $168. By purchasing the entire collection in one volume, now available for the first time, you will save 40%.
(A) Volume 9---Four Norwegian Folk Songs $12.95 (B) The Entire Collection of 52 National Folk Songs $99.95