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Sequentia: "Mythic Edda"

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  • Óskar Guðlaugsson
    Heil öll, So, both me and Haukur went and listened to this CD someone mentioned, Mythic Edda (I believe it was called) with a European song group called
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 9, 2001
      Heil öll,

      So, both me and Haukur went and listened to this CD someone
      mentioned, "Mythic Edda" (I believe it was called) with a European
      song group called Sequentia. I believe we were asked for our opinions
      on it.

      IMHO, the disk represented another disappointment within the field of
      ON reconstruction. The singers, though reported to have thoroughly
      studied traditional Nordic folksongs, took the whole thing somewhere
      completely different in the stylistic sense. Being continental
      European singers, I suppose they were so used to full-blown tenor or
      sopran voices (I may be getting the terms wrong), that they simply
      couldn't adopt the "modest" singing style of the folksongs. I found
      their interpretation, especially that of the male singers, to range
      from over-bombastic to silly. Their emphases and rythms did not
      correspond in any way to how I usually hear the poems read, nor to
      what I perceived as appropriate to the meaning and atmosphere of the
      verses.

      Their pronunciation was in some sense not so bad; they generally
      practiced the reconstructed pronunciation scheme (perhaps by
      mistake?), but totally overpronounced the 'r' sound (so that a humble
      unstressed "er" might go [err]). Their vowel qualities weren't always
      consistent between singers, so that some of them pronounced vowels
      with modern values. The worst thing was, they made no distinction of
      length in any sound, neither vowel nor consonant; in defence, one
      might say that their style of singing did not offer any possibility
      of length-distinction. That is true, but hardly an excuse; by
      choosing this inappropriate style of singing, they painted themselves
      into a corner, limiting their ability to pronounce the meaningful
      length distinctions.

      The music that accompanied I also found rather inappropriate to the
      theme. It is of course a matter of interpretation and personal
      perception of the ancient verses. But it did not agree to my taste or
      perception, in any case.

      I do not like to sound harsh and critical; I know that's how I sound
      in this letter. The Sequentia disk is not so horribly bad that, left
      with nothing else, it would still be a bad option. If you're far
      away, over in Arizona or somewhere ( :o) ), I don't blame you for
      grasping at the disk and listening to it, and hopefully enjoying it.
      Even in Iceland, this is probably the only material of this kind. So
      I say: "listen to the disk, if you can do it for free, don't buy it;
      but in any case, listen to it critically, and remember that this is
      but one interpretation."

      I now leave it to Haukur to express his opinions on the disk (gimme
      yer "knífr í bak"! ;o) ).

      Óskar
    • Haukur Thorgeirsson
      ... Afraid I don t have anything for you this time;) ... Well, yes, but was there more than one male? One thing I forgot is that they seemed to be singing to
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 9, 2001
        Óskar wrote:

        >I now leave it to Haukur to express his opinions on the disk (gimme
        >yer "knífr í bak"! ;o) ).

        Afraid I don't have anything for you this time;)


        >I found their interpretation, especially that of the male singers, to range
        >from over-bombastic to silly.

        Well, yes, but was there more than one male?

        One thing I forgot is that they seemed to be singing to another text than
        was given in the booklet. Where the booklet had "Hvárt skyldi dverga..."
        I think they actually sung "Hverr skyldi dverga..." (Both can be justified
        from the mss, I think).

        Regards,
        Haukur
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