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Helena Munktell, Walpurgisfire
A virtual orchestra performance (audio only)
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (5 votes) 
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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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January 16, 2022 - 12:22 am
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This one has been in the works for a while. It's audio only, so none of the musicians appear on screen, but it might be the most polished sounding virtual orchestra recording I've been involved in yet, and it's a relatively unknown piece that deserves to be heard more. One of the main reasons I've continued playing in virtual orchestras even after the return of in-person orchestras is to play music that I might not otherwise get the chance to play.

Here's the Untitled Virtual Ensemble playing Helena Munktell's tone poem Walpurgisfire.

Helena Munktell (1852-1919) was most closely associated with French impressionism for much of her life; while alive she was far more successful in France than in her native Sweden. She is mainly noted today for being the first Swedish woman to compose an opera, but is rarely performed. Walpurgisfire is believed to be her last work, composed some time after 1910 and first performed posthumously in 1923. Like other pieces from late in her career, it represents somewhat of a hybrid of impressionism and Scandinavian late romanticism. For this project, the Swedish national music library generously provided us with scans of the actual score and parts used in the 1923 premiere, with the musicians' penciled-in markings still on the pages!

 

NOTE: Some YouTube embeds are currently not working in some browsers and it appears to be a widespread YouTube glitch that started two days ago. Until YouTube fixes it, if you're getting "This live event is no longer available", you can see the video by following this link. The embedded video may work if you try a different browser.

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ELCBK
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January 16, 2022 - 1:41 am
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@AndrewH -  

https://static.officeholidays.com/images/935x475b/walpurgis-night-01.jpg

It's Mesmerizing - I was swept away! 

Felt like I was told the whole story and, don't take this as derogatory,

it also felt like an epic film score! 

I could easily imagine an even greater story would follow. 

Made me interested to learn even more. 

I had already read about Helena Munktell (very impressive),

definitely interested in all her other works, now. 

THANK YOU SO MUCH, Andrew! 

Really appreciate you shared this. 

 

- Emily

 

 

"Walpurgis Fire" relates to a huge, Swedish celebration on "Walpurgis Evening" (eve before May 1st) with giant bonfires. 

Valborgsmässoafton [Walpurgis Evening] has been celebrated in Sweden since the Middle Ages and, along with Midsommar, is one of two Swedish holidays which still resemble their pre-Christian origins. On Valborg (May 1st) farm animals were let out to graze and so the fires were lit the night before to scare away predators, ward off evil whilst also cleansing the land of the dried and dead of winter. People also fired guns, shook cowbells or yelled and screamed to the keep the predators at bay! 

Most municipalities organize the construction of the bonfires, some of which are really enormous with very large crowds and a carnival-like atmosphere, although there can be some long speeches.  The bonfires are lit at dusk and then, once the speeches are over, there is often a firework display. 

More about Walpurgis Night at https://www.swedishfood.com/walpurgis

Walpurgis Night was also a 1935 Film, starring Ingrid Bergman, Lars Hanson & Victor SjöströmWalpurgis Night is known in the British Isles as "Beltane" - more interesting info here.  https://www.spookyisles.com/walpurgis-night/

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AndrewH
Sacramento, California
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January 16, 2022 - 3:14 am
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Glad you enjoyed it!

 

Not sure what you mean by editing the credits? My name is there, it's the first one listed in the viola section. There's a mixture of real names and usernames because some people preferred to be credited under their real names and others preferred anonymity.

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ELCBK
USA
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January 16, 2022 - 3:19 am
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@AndrewH -

Sorry, I just realized I screwed up! 🤭

Thought they spelled your name wrong, duh (will edit my post). 

...that's what I get for staying up all hours of the night. 🥴 (lol) 

 

I saw the video periodically says not available (like you mentioned might happen) - glad I got to see it!  I've had that happen with some videos I tried posting on the forum (from YouTube) the last couple days, too.

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SharonC
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January 16, 2022 - 8:22 pm
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@AndrewH  That was wonderful!  It is unfortunate Munktell did not witness its first performance in her lifetime; it is an enchanting piece.  Thank you for posting it.

Characterize people by their actions and you will never be fooled by their words.

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Mark
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January 16, 2022 - 9:34 pm
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AndrewH

That was a great piece of music, and it was performed extremely well, I really enjoyed listening too it.

Mark 

Master the Frog and you have mastered the bow.

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