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In her autobiography (The Flagstad Manuscript, 1952) Kirsten Flagstad tells of the joy she experienced on finding, when she began to give concerts in the United States, that the Americans so took to the songs of her native country, and particularly of Grieg. She herself had been brought up with them, and even included some in the program of one of her first professional engagements, at an Oslo jail in 1913. She was told that one prisoner due for release had asked to stay on till Easter so that he could hear ‘that girl’ again.
The cycle Haugtussa (The Mountain Maid, 1895) was almost entirely unknown to listeners outside Scandinavia till Flagstad issued her first recording of it in 1940. Even then it failed to achieve the popularity its melodies and poignancy should have eared for it, and only since the 150th anniversary of the composer’s birth has it won due recognition. Yet Flagstad had a great love for it and put heart and soul into the songs.
This second volume of “The Flagstad Recitals” focuses on Grieg as well as other Scandinavian composers, offering songs with both piano as well as orchestral accompaniment.
[Grieg Songs] “Listening to Mme Flagstad's recital makes one regret that she did not record more of her great countryman. The songs are varied and rewarding and her account of From Monte Pincio, one of the finest, is beautifully characterised as indeed are nearly all the songs on this record. I only regret that the quality of the recording was not better. The voice remains undimmed…" Gramophone
"…what a marvellously fresh and original work Haugtussa is and how glorious is Flagstad's tone and characterisation! I do urge readers who do not know this song-cycle to invest in this record." Gramophone
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