“In the works by Grieg, we wanted there to be unity in the language. So To brune ojne and Jeg elsker dig, by the Danish poet Andersen, are sung in Norwegian. The songs of Op. 48, settings of various German poems, were translated by the poet Nordahl Rolfsen, who was a close friend of Grieg’s. And I have chosen to sing his translations of the two German poems, by Goethe and von Bodenstedt: En drøm (Ein Traum) and I rosentiden (Zur Rosenzeit). They are usually sung in German. In Grieg there is no tragedy, but instead a gentle Nordic melancholy.
In Sibelius, on the other hand, nature is brutal and love is passionate. Never has the personification of nature been as present as it is in these songs. Here, everything evokes the end of winter and the gushing waters of spring (Marssno, Men min fagel), betrayal (Se n har jag, Flickan kom ifran), despair and weariness with life, conveyed by the image of a rose tree growing in the heart (Svarta rosor); I thought it was interesting to include the song En slanda, in which the music, rather than the poem itself, evokes a dragonfly, symbolising the pleasures of life which come to distract the mind of a person who is lost in thought. The idea of completing this recording with Debussy’s very sensual evocations of amorous desire expressed in the three Chansons de Bilitis came quite naturally. Apparition is for me one of Mallarmé’s finest poems, and in his setting Debussy conveys perfectly the ecstatic yet unsettling feelings caused by love at first sight.
We chose to end this recording with Beau Soir. This infinitely gentle song invites us to contemplate nature and the natural cycle of water and of human life.” Karen Vourc’h
Karen Vourc’h studies with Christa Ludwig. In 2010, she will be Annina in Menotti's Saint of Bleeker Street at the Opéra de Marseille, Musetta at the Opéra de Monaco, Mélisande at the Opéra Comique, conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, and Vincenette (Mireille) at the Chorégies d' Orange. In March she shared the rôle of Emilie in Kaia Saariaho’s new opera, with Karita Mattila, to good reviews.