Leaving my linguistic comfort zone

One of the things I love about writing vocal music is that every so often I'm challenged by a collaborator to step outside my proverbial linguistic comfort zone. One of those opportunities just came up as Minneapolis-based mezzo Melissa Holm-Johansen Culloton commissioned an art song in her native tongue, Norwegian. I've set texts in English, Latin, German, French, Spanish, and even Urdu but I've always secretly wanted to try my hand at this language. It has such elegant diacritics.

We settled on a text by the Norwegian poet Rolf Jacobsen which is gorgeous. For a single line he drops into German using a quote from Schiller's "Ode an die Freude" (there is a famous setting of it by Beethoven you may have heard...;););). Johann Strauss II also used that same line as a title to a piece he dedicated to Brahms so there's plenty of material to mine from, you guys.

Tusen takk, venn!