Tune of the Day: La Mélancolie
The development of music in Norway owes much to the great violinist Ole Bull. When he moved to Paris for the first time in the 1830s, he heard the famous Paganini and remained impressed by his style of playing. Some years later, when he returned to France, Ole Bull was recognized as one of the great virtuosi of his time, at the same time drawing much attention to the culture of his own country. It was during a return to his native city of Bergen that he was able to give encouragement to the young Edvard Grieg and persuade the boy's parents to allow him a career in music.
Ole Bull's colourful personality made a strong impression on all who met or heard him, influencing, it is said, even Ibsen's Peer Gynt, that reflects in its title-role something of Bull's own character. He left a quantity of music, including compositions for the violin of such difficulty that other players were likely to be deterred from attempting them.
But don't worry: the piece we are presenting today is very simple. Some researchers actually state that the melody of “La Mélancolie” (also known in Norwegian as “I ensomme stunde”, that is “In Moments of Solitude”) is actually a Norwegian folk tune. Although very simple, this tune is so beautiful that it is still often played outside Norway in many different formats, the most famous of which are the arrangement for string orchestra and the one for solo violin and orchestra.
Thanks to Thor from Oslo for suggesting this piece!