Sequentia: "Mythic Edda"
- 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
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
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
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 wrote:
>I now leave it to Haukur to express his opinions on the disk (gimmeAfraid I don't have anything for you this time;)
>yer "knífr í bak"! ;o) ).
>I found their interpretation, especially that of the male singers, to rangeWell, yes, but was there more than one male?
>from over-bombastic to silly.
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).