In 2012, I discovered the Albumsblade by father Henrik Rung (1807 – 1871) and son Frederik Rung (1854 -1916), two Danish composers from the nineteenth century. Their music breathes the atmosphere that you hear in the piano music by Grieg as well.
I played a few of them and recorded them in 2012, for own use and for competition practice.
Tyrolienne (Albumsblade No. 1)
This is a recording of the little piece Tyrolienne, the first piece from this collection, composed by his father Henrik Rung (1807 – 1871). It is surprising to see how an Austrian yodelling song lands in a Danish guitar collection.
It’s a relatively simple piece. Its challenge is to lift the melody out of the arpeggio pattern and I succeeded doing so relatively well. I chose a moderate tempo because of the comfy nature of the piece.
Romance (Albumsblade No. 3)
This is a recording of the little piece Romance, the third piece from this collection, composed by Frederik Rung. It’s a tender theme that reminds me of Schumann’s Kinderszenen.
With this piece the melody has to be emphasized over the chords of the accompaniment. That’s the challenge because the melody notes are more or less “locked up” in the chords. I did not play it too bad, but I noticed that I need to play more legato. So, I will have to practice the chord transitions, that can be tricky, particularly in the second section.
Idylle (Albumsblade No. 48)
This is a recording of the piece Idylle from Albumsblade, composed by the Danish composer Frederik Rung (1854 -1916). It is the 48th piece from this collection, a nocturnal like theme with a section in harmonics at the end that reminds me of the Twente traditional mirrewinterhoorn, a wooden horn like instrument that is blown during the Advent and provides extra Christmas atmosphere.
This piece is more complex, with a clear development of emotion and atmosphere, with a characteristic turn that you hear with Grieg as well. This piece requires effort to highlight the melody, and at some points I am in a hurry to do so. I will have to work on that, because an idyll has no hurry, in fact you would like it to last forever.
I am reasonably satisfied with the phrasing, the piece itself gives some strong clues for breathing.
Impromptu (Albumsblade No. 4)
This is a recording of the little piece Impromptu from Albumsblade, composed by the Danish composer Frederik Rung (1854 -1916). It is the fourth piece from this collection, a meditative piece in an almost sad atmosphere. Here I hear the mood that you find in the music by Grieg, I guess it’s typical for northern Europe.
In a very small piece like this (it’s only two lines of music) the tempo and interpretation become quite important, because you have to express an atmosphere in a short time. With an Impromptu, the tempo is up to the player, but the atmosphere of the piece dictates a pretty low tempo.
Further I paid extra attention to the dynamics. It’s tricky to play very softly, particularly if you are quite close to the microphones!
Melodie (Albumsblade No. 2)
This is a recording of the little piece Melodie from Albumsblade, composed and published by the Danish composer Frederik Rung (1854 -1916). It is the second piece from this collection, a simple melody that offers some possibilities for expression despite its briefness.
In this piece, I had to select the tempo sufficiently high to make the melody line clear. This line is quite brief, a statement, an answer and a repeat of the statement. So almost automatically I repeated the answer twice, even though it was not prescribed in the score, just to give the listener an extra impression.
The melody is a bit hidden in the chords, so I made effort for a clear separation. Particularly the bass line must be not too loud.
Nocturne (Albumsblade No. 8)
This is a recording of the little piece Nocturne from Albumsblade, composed by the Danish composer Frederik Rung (1854 -1916). It is the eight piece from this collection, a simple melody that is quite atmospheric despite its briefness, so you have some opportunity for expression.
Many Albumsblade are so short that they pass like autumn leaves on the wind. It’s possible to make them little longer by playing an extra repeat, or to add a variation. In this case I played a variation after the original piece, an arpeggio on the same chord pattern. I did not write it down, it’s just an improvisation that adds some harmonics on the E string as well.
Praeludium (Albumsblade No. 24)
This is a recording of the piece Praeludium from Albumsblade, composed by the Danish composer Frederik Rung (1854 -1916). It is the 24th piece from this collection, a clearly longer and more complex piece with some musical development.
This piece was one of my amateur competition pieces in the 2012 Nordhorn Guitar Festival. My guitar teacher had some doubts about this piece and he appeared to be right, it was quite tricky to bring out all musical aspects under stress conditions.
I recorded the piece a number of times as a preparation for the competition in order to get used to the stress. If you listen carefully, you will notice the trouble spots that are sensitive to the stress that you experience playing in front of a jury. Fortunately, I succeeded in playing the piece as a whole.
Finally, it helped me to win the third prize.
You can playback the pieces below. 😊 One at the time!