3427AW: [norse_course] sequentia
- Aug 4, 2003
Haukur, (the other) Dan etc.,
Thanks for your response - interesting. Well if you ask me, the Gregorian chanting isn’t all that far off the mark. Even in Iclandic folk songs of today traces of mediaeval musical traditions are discernible. So they must have been present in mediaeval Iceland as well. I don’t think the Edda, as it was written down was a “folk” story and performed as such. It was rather my impression that they were recited by professional narrators keeping oral traditions alive that date further back in the past, maybe even chanted? The form would have been very stylised. The point is, though, that neither of us were there to hear it, so anything anybody can make about the performance of the Edda in mediaeval Iceland can only be an informed guess.
I’m not particularly steadfast on Icelandic and Norse, though I know a bit, but people who specialise on specific topics, can get very opinionated, and sometimes need to be dragged down to earth again. I know this from bitter personal experience – I too have my favourite topics. A lot of knowledge does not mean absolute knowledge.
Von: Daniel Bray [mailto:dbray@...]
Gesendet: Montag, 04. August 2003 05:13
Betreff: Re: [norse_course] sequentia
I have a copy of the Sequentia CD, and even as a relative novice, I found numerous errors in pronunciation. I also was somewhat disappointed that the style owes more to Gregorian chanting than to medieval songs or folk songs that I've heard. The metre of Eddic poetry should, in my mind, lend to it a certain rhythm, which I didn't find at all on the Sequentia production. That being said, I still quite enjoy it as a musical production. Do you know of any recordings of traditional folk ballads or the like, that would give us a better idea of how it should sound?
(the other) Dan
This exchange is only marginally on-topic but I hope
no-one minds our discussing Sequentia a bit more.
I doubt this CD was recorded with the
intent of making it into an academic exercise on reconstructing a sung
version of the “Edda” as it was performed in mediaeval Iceland.
I'm sure it is nowhere explicitly stated but that's
the impression many people seem to be getting.
It is a modern artistic expression
of an old text, not more no less.
Certainly. But why would they do all this research
if their goal wasn't, at least partially, to reconstruct
To criticize it under this aspect does not do the craftsmanship and
effort justice that was put into it.
The aspect we were asked (by more than one person)
to criticize was the accuracy of the pronunciation.
As I said two years ago:
"Obviously the members of Sequentia are musicians
(not linguists) and they will have to be judged for the quality
of their music. I don't know much of anything about music so
you shouldn't take my comments about it very seriously."
As for accuracy of pronunciation we found it mostly absent.
And how would you know how the Edda was performed in the first place?
Were you there? Even darwing conclusions from modern Icelandic, Faeroes,
and Norwegian traditional folk music doesn’t really help, because
performace and musical styles develop and change over time at least as
much as language does.
Even so, later Icelandic and Faroese folk songs would surely
be a better approximation than, say, traditional Japanese music
or modern opera. And this criticism was founded on their own
claims. They said they'd listened to a whole lot of traditional
Nordic music - yet I hardly heard a trace of that in their
performance. Neither did Óskar.
But it so happens that now we do have someone on this list
who is much better qualified to judge Sequentia's music.
Konrad, what do you think?
By all means, don't let me ruin your enjoyment of the music.
I keep giving the impression that I hated this CD but that's
not the case at all. I enjoyed some of the melodies. I'd even
like to own it but I'd rather prefer not to pay for it ;-)
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