July 1, 2010


Day Three in Bergen.

I have been given the opportunity to practise each day in the recital hall at Troldhaugen where I will be performing this weekend.  I've envisioned playing in this hall for quite some time now, so it is very exciting to actually be doing so now.

Arrival at Troldhaugen means a bus ride from Bergen city centre (or a "tram" ride on the brand new "Bybanen") followed by about a 15 minute walk.  It feels like a bit of a pilgrimage as one takes this little trek towards Grieg's home, the Grieg Museum, and the Troldsalen recital hall.  The road is well-marked with many signs pointing toward Troldhaugen, and I think I posed for a photo by each and every one of them.

Yesterday we briefly explored the actual house in which Grieg and his wife Nina lived for over twenty years.  (mainly during the warmer seasons)  I was keen to get to the piano, so we didn't look too closely at the displays and neither did we look at the museum yet.  Today we took a little walk down to the water, and saw the grave where both Edvard's and Nina's ashes were entombed.  Sitting by the water's edge - fjordside - I could well understand why the Griegs underwent the travel ordeals to reach Troldhaugen each year.  A beautiful, inspiring, and peaceful spot, and so near the salty sea air.  Sitting by the water today among the trees, I am quite sure I heard the type of bird that Grieg would have heard and been inspired to emulate in some of his music.

Tomorrow I plan to take more time in looking through the museum and the house, to see all the artifacts and learn a bit.  My main focus though for these first few days has been to get over jet lag and prepare for my recitals this weekend.  The Hamburg Steinway in Troldsalen and I have been spending time together in order to get to know one another.  It took about an hour yesterday before we were able to unravel each other's secret codes.  This instrument has a nice consistent touch, and a marvellous low end.  It has good responsiveness and excellent "Bebung" possibilities.  (my advanced students will know what I mean by that)  I look forward to a couple more hours of work tomorrow, before leaving on Saturday for Hardangerfjord where my first concert is.

I am so enjoying being in Europe.  There is so much about the way of life and just being here that makes good sense to me and feels right.  It's fun to use my Danish again and to find that people generally understand me.  I just wish I could get the hang of Norwegian more quickly.  Because both languages look so similar on the page, when I hear Norwegian I tend to visualize the words & then translate them in my head to their Danish pronunciation, immediately forgetting how it sounded in Norwegian.  I'm keeping the television on in the background as much as possible in order to absorb the sounds.  No doubt, this language will start to take hold just in time for our departure from Norway on Monday.

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