I find myself on a day off, in the exotically wild-west town of Dillon, Montana, with one performance left in an epic month-long recital tour on the west coast of North America. Ten concerts, three days of recording, nearly 4,000 kilometres of road trips, as well as flights totalling over 15,000 kilometres; all in the name of Edvard Grieg!
Eight years ago, I heard for the first time a performance of Edvard Grieg's songs based on texts of the Norwegian poet, Vinje. That performance still stands out to me as a revelation. Of course I had known of some of Grieg's songs, but as performances in their original language (one of the two Norwegian languages: Nynorsk or "bokmål") are hard to come by in North America, I really had not grasped that Grieg is one of the most significant art song composers of the romantic age. From that point eight years ago, I have been driven to make it part of my mission to raise awareness of this glorious repertoire.
As luck would have it, I met a singer who is just as passionate about this repertoire as I am: Seattle-based soprano, Laura Loge. (I guess that makes us the "LogeMoge Duo"?) Fortunately, Laura is also a gifted and tireless organizer and administrator, and managed to set up this concert tour very efficiently. We have been enjoying our collaboration on a program featuring two of Grieg's lesser-known opuses: op. 33, the Vinje songs, and op. 66 for solo piano. This program is designed so that we alternate between the twelve songs of op. 33 and the nineteen folk song miniatures, bringing the listener an experience of the universal human story, told within the context of life in 19th century Norway, and told from two different yet intertwined perspectives.
We have been performing mainly at universities and venues focused on Nordic culture; tomorrow we are bringing the program to Laura's hometown of Dillon, population 4.134. There has been great excitement from our audiences everywhere we have been. Such rarely-heard music, presented in our own particular "mash-up" seems to have really struck a chord (ugh, sorry about that unintended pun) with listeners. The texts by Vinje are particularly relevant in our current world, and Grieg's music has the capacity to take the listener into a deeply reflective place. In every concert along the way, I have detected a moment when it feels like the entire audience becomes quiet, as if they as a whole become entrained into a communal experience. This has been such a gratifying experience for us as artists.
If you have not had a chance to hear any of our recitals so far, you can hear our recording, which will be released in the summer of 2017. Please consider pre-ordering this record, as it would help us greatly to get this music to a wider audience. We plan to tour this program in other parts of North America in the future, so you may also like to consider subscribing to sandramogensen.com for updates.
Our indiegogo crowdfunding campaign is found here: http://igg.me/at/logemogeduo