August Soderman, King Heimer


It was almost a mystical experience: I heard this song by August S5dennan (1832-1876) on an old 45 rpm record imported from Sweden some 40 years ago (ERAS 102), just shortly after Jussi's death. My knowledge of Swedish was nil, but the power of this song from the first sounding of the harp through the melancholy atmosphere of the narrative captured my imagination and made me long to know the meaning of this text. Who was King Heimer? Who was Aslog? Why did the singer sound so mournful at first and then seem to gather strength and resolution as the piece progressed to its enigmatic conclusion? Part of the answer was in the power of Jussi's voice and his dramatic skill, making me sense that something of importance was being conveyed. But the meaning of the text was needed for any real understanding.

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