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Intensiteten, lidenskapen kan ulme under den stille overflaten
University of Gothenburg, Department for Culture, Esthetics and Media. (Musicology)
2005 (Norwegian)In: Under Ytan. Humanistdagboken, ISSN 1400 4496, no 18, 119-126- p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

"Shall we roam, my love?" Caralis and Backer Grøndahl ask in this romance. The purpose of the stroll is "to whisper there, in the cool night air, what I dare not in broad daylight". Maybe this romance is about lacking words for the big and important feelings and thoughts. As a "producerly text", this song allows sophisticated as well as innocent "readings", because what cannot be said is ex­pressed in code. Agathe Backer leaves it to the listeners and amateur per­for­mers to decode this song either sophisticatedly or more innocently. By singing a romance, it was possible to show and attract interest from suitable people of the opposite sex. Isa von der Lütt recommended music for this purpose, because it spoke a more beautiful language than the usual one and could express deep feelings bigger and more powerful than words: In "To the queen of my heart" the singer whispers quickly (allegretto), followed by wandering semiquavers in the piano part. Passion never breaks out in forte, although the singer some­times gives it away with crescendos and ritardandos. Still, feelings are expressed mutedly; this is the art of gentle hints. In her interpretation of the poem, Backer Grøndahl shows us her masterly ability to express unspoken, but very important words for thoughts that are not explicitly stated. In this way the romance, in a Mendelssohnian sense, explores the limits of language.  While the amateur performers of these kinds of romances played the piano, they let their thoughts wander. Their own dreams could be projected into text, title and music. The big interval in the beginning of the song may function as a gesture for roaming away from reality a little while. These kinds of daydreams would be interrupted sooner or later. A metaphor for this can be found in the frequent use of unprepared suspensions ("seufzers" or "sighs"). By virtue they are defined by the necessity of being resolved (reconsolidated). The chromatic movements are also this kind of small detours, short aberrations.  On a general level the song’s identification process plays on what the composer, listener or musician places in the voice. Not only does the voice construct impressions about the poem’s and the singer’s persona, it also assigns positions for the listener, whether or not s/he chooses to identify with the subject of the song or the object of her/his passion. The romance illustrates the possibility to choose interpretations that stay on good terms with alternative as well as re­com­men­ded, gendered practice, whether a woman sings it to a man or another wo­man, or a man sings it to a woman or another man.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Göteborg: Göteborgs Universitet , 2005. no 18, 119-126- p.
Keyword [no]
Agathe Backer Grøndahl; music, gender and genius; femininity; music historical knowledge and canonisation, gender and genre; musical analysis and performativity, "Til mit Hjertes Dronning"
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-29938OAI: diva2:236382
Available from: 2009-09-22 Created: 2009-09-22 Last updated: 2009-09-22

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