Thursday, June 27, 2013

Edvard Grieg: In the Hall of the Mountain King

When I was in second grade, I single handedly made my classmates develop a lifelong abhorrence of this song.

They weren't too fond of me, either.

Three times a week, the music teacher would come to our classroom with a cart full of large music books and instruments. Sometimes we would sing; sometimes we would play instruments. And sometimes, we would get to pick a song from the big music books to listen to.

Whenever I was called on, I chose this song. I think part of why my classmates hated it was because it was boring to them, having no words at all. (My repetitive requests were probably also to blame.)

My fondness for it was partially in the fact that it was by a Norwegian composer - even at that age, I recognized how awesome it was to be Norwegian. The other part was likely the awesome story behind the piece. (Though I didn't know that Grieg himself thought the piece "reeked of cowpats." Interesting.)

I think even then, I loved the dark intensity of the piece; it was so different from anything I'd ever listened to before, so full of doom and destruction. And, as Invader Zim says, "Destruction is nice!"

I requested that song over and over again, content to try to follow the music in my book as the music played over the tinny classroom speakers and my fellow students glared at me. Years later, I learned that there are other ways to enjoy this great piece: through Apocalyptica...

...And through Duke Ellington.

I still love this song. I have no regrets.

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