It’s almost summer. Even in Northern Europe (or, as I have recently been told by someone residing far more North than I do, “in Central Europe”).
But it is not summer for me, wherever I may reside at a given time, without the annual rite of passage that is putting on the von Otter Grieg album and listening to the entire “Haugtussa”.
I’ve done this for many years (almost since the album came out in 1993 – it was the first von Otter solo album I owned and it is still among my very favorites), in different countries and in very different points in life, and I am doing it again today.
By now, the song cycle is rich with so many personal memories, too: Sensations that have accumulated over the years that summer has come while I listened to this recording – insecurity, hope, joy, gratitude… always reflected in this flawless reading.
To me, it’s a cool morning breeze on a cloudless early June day, reminding me that – no matter where or how stressed out I am – there are long, bright nights ahead.
(a particularly bright night will be this Saturday, since someone actually got me in the right lottery line for a ticket to catch Anne Sofie von Otter’s performance of “Isoldes Abendrot” at the Festwochen in Vienna — time for a pilgrimage (and for a review).
It has been a few years since I had the chance to hear von Otter live, and I am just as excited now as I was over two decades ago when I first managed to get into a concert she sang (I guess with some people, you will always feel as if you’re seventeen).
The tickets for “Isolde” were presented to me with a flourish and the phrase, “You are now the envy of many!” (I’ll let you know to just what extent that phrase came true. Prognosis: a very large one.))