Til Ungdommen

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Til ungdommen (English: "For the Youth"), also known by the words of the first line Kringsatt av fiender ("Surrounded by Enemies"), is a poem from 1936 by Norwegian poet and writer Nordahl Grieg. It was set to music in 1952 by the Danish composer Otto Mortensen. The song has been recorded by various artists and has been sung at meetings held by various organizations. After the terror attacks of 22 July 2011, it was used in many memorial gatherings and services.

History[edit]

The poem[1] was written in 1936 by Nordal Grieg when he was in Ny-Hellesund in Søgne, after a request by the politician Trond Hegna, for use in the Norwegian Students' Society. The poem is directly inspired by the Spanish civil war, which broke out the same summer. It was set to music by the Danish composer Otto Mortensen in 1952, some nine years after Grieg's death.

In 1988 it was recorded by Grex Vocalis. In 2000 it was orchestrated by Tormod Tvete Vik and sung by Norwegian actress and singer Herborg Kråkevik in her CD titled Kråkeviks Songbok. Kråkevik's version excludes verses 7-10.

The song has also been recorded by Danish rock musician Kim Larsen, first on his album 231045-0637 from 1979. However, on this album it was called 682 A rather than Til Ungdommen, a reference to the song's listing in the Danish folk high school songbook. Kim Larsen also included the song on his live album Kim i Cirkus (1985), and on the live CD and DVD En Lille Pose Støj on YouTube (2007), on these two occasions titling it by the first line in the Danish version of the poem, Kringsat af Fjender.

The song has also been recorded by Norwegian experimental band The Soundbyte. Til Ungdommen was sung by Norwegian singer Torhild Ostad on 23 November 2003 in Kleinmachnow near Berlin, Germany, as the memorial stone was unveiled at the site where the poet Nordahl Grieg died when the Lancaster bomber in which he was flying as a war correspondent hit the ground on 2 December 1943. [2][3][4]

On 24 July 2011, under enormous worldwide media coverage, the song was sung by the congregation of the Oslo Cathedral memorial service in relation to the 2011 Norway attacks.[5] It was also sung at Denmark's official Memorial Service at Vor Frue Kirke in Copenhagen on 27 July 2011.

Herborg Kråkevik's 2000 version of the song was rereleased in 2011 immediately after the attacks, reaching #1 on VG-lista, the official Norwegian Singles Chart, in its first week of release.

Sissel Kyrkjebø sang the song as the concluding performer during the Norwegian National Memorial Ceremony on 21 August 2011 in the Oslo Spektrum arena, which was held to remember those killed in the terrorist attacks. The program was broadcast on all TV channels across Norway.

Text of the poem[edit]

Til ungdommen[a] by Nordahl Grieg.

Kringsatt av fiender, gå
inn i din tid!
Under en blodig storm –
vi deg til strid!

Kanskje du spør i angst,
udekket, åpen:
hva skal jeg kjempe med,
hva er mitt våpen?

Her er ditt vern mot vold,
her er ditt sverd:
troen på livet vårt,
menneskets verd.

For all vår fremtids skyld,
søk det og dyrk det,
dø om du må – men:
øk det og styrk det!

Stilt går granatenes
glidende bånd.
Stans deres drift mot død,
stans dem med ånd!

Krig er forakt for liv.
Fred er å skape.
Kast dine krefter inn:
døden skal tape!

Elsk – og berik med drøm –
alt stort som var!
Gå mot det ukjente,
fravrist det svar.

Ubygde kraftverker,
ukjente stjerner –
skap dem, med skånet livs
dristige hjerner!

Edelt er mennesket,
jorden er rik!
Finnes her nød og sult,
skyldes det svik.

Knus det! I livets navn
skal urett falle.
Solskinn og brød og ånd
eies av alle.

Da synker våpnene
maktesløs ned!
Skaper vi menneskeverd,
skaper vi fred.

Den som med høyre arm
bærer en byrde,
dyr og umistelig,
kan ikke myrde.

Dette er løftet vårt
fra bror til bror:
vi vil bli gode mot
menskenes[b] jord.

Vi vil ta vare på
skjønnheten, varmen –
som om vi bar et barn
varsomt på armen!

  1. ^ Line breaks, punctuation and spelling as per ISBN 82-05-18666-9.
  2. ^ Nordahl Grieg wrote "menskenes", however proper Norwegian spelling is "menneskenes".

Song recordings[edit]

  • Kim Larsen's version (in 1979) of the song is titled "682A" — a reference to its place in Højskolesangbogen, the Danish Folk High School songbook
  • The song was performed live in July 1988 by Kim Larsen, Björn Afzelius, Åge Aleksandersen and Jahn Teigen, with verses alternating between Norwegian, Danish and Swedish. The song was recorded and shown live on television, but never released on CD or vinyl.

In popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

Other sources[edit]

  • Andreassen, Jostein (1992) Nordahl Grieg på Sørlandet: Et studieheft om forfatterskap og miljø (J. Andreassen) ISBN 978-82-91188-01-0
  • Nag, Martin (1989) Ung må Nordahl Grieg ennå være (Solum) ISBN 978-82-560-0655-7
  • Hoem, Edvard (1989) Til ungdommen : Nordahl Griegs liv (Oslo: Gyldendal) ISBN 82-05-29946-3