Suite Norvégienne

Title, Duration, Place, Year, Publisher, Dedicated to, Premiere (performer(s), place, date)

SUITE NORVEGIENNE 1. Langeleik 2. Dype, stille, sterke, milde 3. Kråkevisa 4. Mitt hjerte alltid vanker  5. Bånsull i vals6. Håvard Hedde 7. Byssan lull  8. Litle fuglen  9. Kjerringa med staven,  12', Chatou, 2012, Schott, til David Scott Hamnes og Orgelklubben Ludvig, Ida Ulvik Rønningen, Maria Cordelia Skagen, Phoebe Thalberg Fagerheim, Hallstein Olesønn Hagaseth, Gard Kvikne Furberg, Andreas Pettersen and David Scott Hamnes, Røros Kirke, Trondheim, 28.09.13


1. Langeleik (Norwegian droned zither)


Text: Anonymous folksong


Me’ sjona leist og me’ krota skor

Da trør du so lett i dansen.


With patterned stockings and flourishing shoes

You dance so lightly.

Melody: This tune was first transcribed in Kvam, possibly by Olav Sande (1850-1907). An important work based on the tune is Geirr Tveitt’s “Langeleik-låt” from Hundrad folketonar frå Hardanger, op. 150 no. 27. A langeleik-slått or dance tune may be in the style of a halling, depending on the tempo, and is often used as an instrumental work.

 The langeleik is a Norwegian droned zither, usually with one melody string and up to eight drone strings. While related to the German Scheitholt and Swedish Hummel, the Norwegian langeleik predates these instruments. The earliest dated instrument is from ca.1524. Early instruments were tuned according to the Pythagorean scale; later instruments (post 1850s) may be equal-tempered. The tune used in this work is from Kvam in Western Norway.

2. Dype, stille, sterke, milde (Deep, silent, strong and mild)

Text : Theodor Wilhelm Oldenburg, 1840


Dype, stille, sterke, milde
guddomsord fra himmelhavn
kaller, beder, sjeler leder
til den gode hyrdes favn,
vitner om hva oss er givet:
Jesus er vår vei til livet.


Deep, quiet, strong, gentle

divine word from heaven’s port 

call, pray, lead the souls

to the Good Shepherd’s bosom,

witnesses on what is given to us:

Jesus is our way of life.

Melody: This tune was composed by Ludvig Mathias Lindeman in 1871, for a hymn text by T. W. Oldenburg (1805-1842). Lindeman was the editor of the chorale book (1871) for M. B. Landstad’s Kirkesalmebog (1869), the first Norwegian hymnal. The Lindeman family  was highly productive and influential in church music in Norway.


3. Kråkevisa (The crow song)

Text & melody: Anonymous Nordic folksong


Og mannen han gjekk seg i vedaskog,

Hei fara, i vedaskog.

Då sat der ei kråka i lunden og gol.

Hei fara, faltu riltu raltura.


And the man went into the woods,

Hei fara, into the woods.

There perched a cawing crow in a clearing.

Hei fara, faltu riltu raltura.


Over one hundred text variants and more than 75 melodies have been associated with this well-known children’s folksong or medieval ballad common to all the Nordic regions. M. B. Landstad published two short variants in Norske folkeviser in 1853; the oldest known source is from a 17th century Danish publication. 

4. Mitt hjerte alltid vanker (Always my heart wanders to the birth place of Jesus)

Text: H.A. Brorson, 1732


Mitt hjerte alltid vanker
I Jesu føderum,
Der samles mine tanker
Som i sin hovedsum,
Der er min lengsel hjemme,
Der har min tro sin skatt,
Jeg kan dig aldri glemme,
Velsignet Julenatt!

My heart always wanders
To where Jesus once was born.
There I collect
and unify my thoughts.
There my longing finds its home,
there my faith has its treasure;
I can never forget you
O blessed Christmas night

Melody: Norwegian variant of a Swedish folk tune from Västergötland, ca. 1816.


5. Bånsull i vals (Lullaby  waltz)


Text and melody: Anonymous Norwegian folk tune. Texts to bånsull-tunes are usually improvised for the actual occasion, and often consist of phonetic sounds. 

6. Håvard Hedde

Text & melody: Anonymous Norwegian folksong from the late 1700s.

Eg heiter Håvard Hedde og er så ven ein kar;

No vil eg bort og gifta meg og rydja meg ein gard.

Eg bur oppunder fjell,

Og jenta hev eg lova, eg svik ho ikkje hell.


My name is Håvard Hedde and I am a likable fellow

Now I’ll away and marry, and fix myself a farm.

I live just below a mountain,

And the girl I have promised, I’ll not betray.


The text is a simple poem about a humble man from Helle (Heddi) in Setesdal who lived in the late 18th century. His fate was unhappy; in one version, his betrothed betrays him; in another, he drowns on the way to make a marriage proposal.


7. Byssan lull (Sea shanty or lullaby)

Text: Reworked and popularised by Evert Taube (1890-1976) in 1919. 


Byssan lull, koka kittelen full,
där kommer tre vandringsmän på vägen. (bis)
Den ene, ack så halt,
den andre, o så blind,
den tredje säger alls ingenting.

Byssan lull, boil the full kettle,
three wanderers are coming down the road. (bis)
The first one is limping,
the second one is blind,
the third one doesn't say anything.

Melody: Variant of a fisherman’s sea shanty found across the Nordic region. The initial rising fifth from the tonic is typical for this style of tune. The first phrase is usually also repeated, and the second phrase ends with a falling second interval.

8. Litle fuglen (Little bird)

Text and melody: Medieval religious folksong from Valdres.


Duva sætter sig på Liljanqvist -

Gud at raade -

Ho sjunger saa vakkert om Jesum Christ -

Herre Gud sender os sin Naade.  


The pigeon sits on the linden branch

Advising God,

She sings so beautifully about Jesus Christ.

The Lord God sends us his grace.


L. M. Lindeman transcribed this text and tune in 1848, according a form sung by Marit Larsdatter Leira (Leiro) in Aurdal. The text is perhaps better known as “Tore liti” or “Duva sætter sig på Liljanqvist” 

9. Kjerringa med staven (The woman with the staff)


Text and melody: Anonymous Norwegian folksong


Kjerringa med staven
høgt opp i Hakadalen!
Åtte potter rømme,
fire merker smør,
såleis kinna Kari,
Ola hadde før.
Kjerringa med staven.


The woman with the staff

High up in Hakadalen! (Haka valley)

Eight pots of cream,

Four cups of butter,

Thus churned Kari,

Ola took it all.

The woman with the staff.

“Kjerringa med staven” is a traditional Norwegian triple-metred slåttestev or slåtterim, derived from the Norwegian word to strike. While sometimes performed with fiddle, mouth harp or langeleik accompaniment, these tunes are meant to be sung a cappella by the dancer, who dances the springer or pols. The slåttestev consists of one strophe, although it is usual to add new text variants according to local tradition. This music was used for a variety of purposes, both as entertainment, accompaniment to dance and children’s games. The text was first notated by L. M. Lindeman in the mid 19th century, according the form sung by Anders Olsen Graff of Løten. The tune is from an older source; it was first published in Paris under the name “Bondedans fra Bergens stift i Norge” (Farmer’s dance from Bergen diocese in Norway). The traditional reading from Nittedal interprets the text as a spiteful poem about the dairymaids in Kongsvangskogen, where the farmers from Kirkeby and surrounding areas sent their cows to roam  in the summer. These farmers claimed that the cows produced too little butterfat. Åtte pottar rømme is equivalent to about eight litres of cream, which is normally enough for ca. two kilograms of butter. However, Kari only managed to produce half as much, or fire merker (four cups). It seems reasonable to suspect Ola: He probably ate Kari’s cream!


© David Scott Hamnes


This cycle of nine short and easy pedagogical pieces is built on melodies from the popular Norwegian repertoire, developed through contrasted compositional techniques and registrations. The opening piece, Langeleik, is a waltz with modal variations. Dype, stille, sterke, milde is a cantus firmus chorale prelude with the tune on the pedal division. Kråkevisa is characterised by its lightness and ornamental accompaniment. Mitt hjerte alltid vankermarks the center of the cycle. It is an expressive meditation on the cromorne. Bånsull i vals evokes classical writing using the Alberti bass. Håvard Heddedevelops through a contrapuntal accompaniment and Byssan lull on a harmonic pedal. Litle Fuglen evokes the chorale style, before the concluding work, Kjerringa med staven leads into a cheerful and rhythmic dance.

© Naji Hakim


Naji Hakim : Suite Norvégienne, page 1, excerpt from the autograph manuscript