Eric Fogg: Merok
Although much of his music has been lost since his untimely death in 1939, Eric Fogg’s tone poem Merok has been the recipient of recent orchestral recordings. Composed in 1929, Merok is based on a Norwegian folk song that refers to a village in Norway at the head of the Geiranger Fjord. The atmosphere created by Fogg in Merok gives the listener an insight into his style and his influences at the time.
Opening with the main folk theme, Fogg creates a cascade of wind instruments playing the theme. A duet between the flute and oboe plays out, which sets this pastoral scene. Warm strings join the mix which prompts the clarinet to take a solo. The music is somewhat restrained throughout, which is what adds to this really effective atmosphere that Fogg has created. The melody is constantly moving around the orchestra, with all of the sections playing the theme at least once.
Fogg’s handling of the theme shows his prowess as an orchestrator, with many voices adding to the mix. The bouncy theme is made up of dotted rhythms that float across the orchestra. During the second half of the piece, the dynamic begins to rise to show growth within the music. Perhaps this rise in dynamic signifies the parting of the mist over the fjord. The woodwind lay at the heart of Merok, with their solo lines creating melodic interest as the strings add to the overall atmosphere.
As the bass clarinet fades into the fjord at the end of the piece, the rest of the orchestra begin to drop out until only silence remains.
Ⓒ Alex Burns
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