(UPDATE: Fair Katrinelje... is now proud to be a part of a larger Brother Grimms Song Cycle project; it's sister piece currently accompanying it is "The Old Beggar-Woman" for Violin and Soprano. Stay tuned for further additions as they are completed!)
This work by Sarah Wallin is a vocal text setting for soprano, flute, cello, and piano, completed in 2008. The musical inspiration behind the work was found in Stravinsky's brief setting of The Owl and the Pussycat. According to Dr. Edward David Zeliff, Fair Katrinelje... is "very interesting, clever, witty, and captures the quirky little scenario of this poor fellow trying so hard to line up a bride by having to go through the firewall of her entire family and then having enough umph left over to get her attention as well. It's very Stravinskyish, and the charm and humor comes through."
The story of Fair Katrinelje and Pif-Paf-Poltrie is a lesser-known fairy tale found in the Children's and Household Tales of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, the famous “Brothers Grimm”. First published in 1812, the collection of “Grimms’ Fairy Tales” stems from the alleged oral tradition of folk lore handed down for generations throughout the Germanic and French countrysides, with other influences as diverse as the oral traditions of England, Norway, Serbia, India, and Persia.
Fair Katrinelje and Pif-Paf-Poltrie is a comedic dialogue. Our hero, Pif-Paf-Poltrie, is out to seek the hand of his beloved, the Fair Katrinelje, in marriage. Being the gentleman that he is, he approaches in turn each member of his beloved’s family to ask their permission. Father Hollenthe, Mother Malcho, Brother High-and-Mighty, and Sister Käsetraut all respond in turn similarly – essentially, “If it’s all right with everyone else, it’s all right with me.”
The challenge for the vocalist is to convey the essence and the hilarity of the dialogue by highlighting, with the mannerisms of the voice, the attitudes and characteristics of each character speaking. Above each character’s lines, it is made clear whom it is that is speaking and the emotional context within which it is being spoken. The vocalist has complete freedom to effect these roles in whatever manner and to whatever degree is deemed appropriate, provided the musical integrity of the work is kept intact.
The basic motive behind each role (and the pronunciation for each name) can be defined as follows: Pif-Paf-Poltrie (pif paf pole-tree): Starts out on this “journey” eagerly, only to grow more weary and desperate with each time he must ask permission. When he at last is with his beloved, there is sweet innocence and youthful excitement, as True Love overcomes the fact that he is a pauper with a lowly trade.
Father Hollenthe (hawl-len-teh): A gracious and understanding fellow, greatly pleased at Pif-Paf-Poltrie’s request.
Mother Malcho (mal-kho): Distracted by the many chores around the house, perhaps she only grants her permission to satisfy Pif-Paf-Poltrie and move him along to someone else.
Brother High-and-Mighty: An aspiring young man with lots of confidence!
Sister Käsetraut (kay-ze-trout): Hard-working young woman who, while glad to find her sister has a suitor, now bemoans her own lack of the same.
Fair Katrinelje (kat-ri-nel-yay): Thrilled at the proposal of her suitor, True Love overcomes the fact that she lacks any sufficient dowry. --Sarah Wallin 07:17, 27 May 2008 (UTC)
External Links Edit
- Audio from Fair Katrinelje and Pif-Paf-Poltrie and The Old Beggar-Woman
- YouTube video from premiere performance of The Old Beggar-Woman