28 danske sange
The Danish Song Treasury
The songs recorded on this CD embody the soul of Danish national feeling and are mostly connected to nature, describing a joy in and devotion to the beauty of the Danish landscape and the richness of its natural world. The passing of the seasons is very noticeable in Denmark and this annual cycle of the turning year can be clearly heard in these songs.
The illustrations are taken from Flora Danica – the comprehensive Danish botanical atlas begun in 1763 and completed 123 years later, and whose drawings also represent a Nordic aesthetic of simplicity and humility.
Denmark is unique in having an unusually rich heritage of national songs written roughly between 1830 and 1960. This is mostly due to its lack of natural folksongs, which for instance Norway and Sweden have aplenty, but also because Denmark suffered a series of military and other defeats in the 19th century which considerably diminished its size and power. A national feeling had to be supported and therefore
national poems and melodies were written in great numbers.
The popularity of these songs was underlined by a national mobilisation of education amongst the entire populace, found in the concept of the “Højskole” where peasants and the poorly-educated could supplement their scant knowledge of....everything. In these schools the singing of such songs was an essential part of the education, and this in turn stimulated the production of new ones. In particular, the very thorough work of Thomas Laub and Carl Nielsen was extremely influential: they produced a multitude of new material during the First World War years, shaping and sharpening a way to write unsentimental, national songs. The publication of the melody-book of the Højskole-movement in 1922 triggered a flood of new songs, and a completely new and unique tradition was reborn, and continued. This tradition, loved and known by almost all Danes, was severely challenged during the 1970s, especially by the international pop repertoire, but many of the traditional songs do still survive, and it is a selection of these you hear on this CD, most of which come from the first half of the 20th century.