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Albumsblad 14: Humoreske

(Frederik Rung)

This is music from the collection Albumsblade (Album Leaves), published by Frederik Rung in 1898. Albumsblade is a coproduction, it contains compositions by the father Henrik Rung (1807 - 1871) and the son Frederik Rung (1854 - 1914), both originating from Denmark.

Henrik Rung was born in Naestved, Denmark in 1807. In his youth he was bed ridden for quite a while, a period he conveniently spent developing and improving his guitar technique.

He was trained in music at the Royal Orchestra School, not on the guitar (people considered it a gypsy’s instrument that was not acceptable for formal study) but on the double bass. He was so successful that he acquired a scholarship to study abroad. In this way he got acquainted with choral music in Italy, particularly the music by Palestrina. This helped him with the start of his professional career at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen. Being a choral music enthusiast, he founded the St. Caecilia Association (Cæciliaforeningen) with himself as a conductor.

He was not quite prolific for solo guitar, his repertoire includes 4 small opus numbers, his contribution to Albumsblade and a few isolated works. His fame was in Scandinavia mainly established by his choral compositions and songs. Yet his guitar opus numbers in particular bear witness of his great skill and virtuosity on the guitar.

Just like his father, Frederik Rung sought a career in music. He succeeded his father, both with the St. Caecilia Association and the Royal Theatre. His guitar pieces in Albumsblade form practically his only contribution to the solo guitar repertoire, he mainly composed works for choir and orchestra and opera music.

Henrik Rung played a conventional guitar from his time. His son, however, used a remarkable instrument, the harp guitar, that was much longer and had a support to position it on the ground.

The pieces from Albumsblade have a typical character and harmony. The music has some Skandinavian melancholy and a sometimes grave sound that you won’t hear in the music of "southern" guitar contemporaries. The pieces sometimes resemble Grieg’s Lyriske Stykker.

Nr. 14 Humoreske by Frederik Rung offers a bit of cheerfulness in contrast to the Scandinavian melancholy from many of his pieces. Play the piece with flair and a joyful wink.

I arranged this piece for flute/recorder and guitar on the occasion of the birthday of the members of the Dutch ensemble Duo NIHZ.