In the Hall of the Mountain King (Norwegian: I Dovregubbens hall) is a piece of orchestral music, Opus 23, composed by Edvard Grieg for Henrik Ibsen's play Peer Gynt, which premiered in Oslo on February 24, 1876. (It was later extracted as the final piece of Peer Gynt, Suite No. 1, Op. 46.) Although a performance of the full piece runs to only two and a half minutes, it has attained iconic status in popular culture and is easily recognized, though not, perhaps, by name.
A fantasy story written in verse, Peer Gynt tells of the adventures of the eponymous Peer. The sequence illustrated by the music of In the Hall of the Mountain King is when Peer sneaks into the Mountain King's castle. The piece then describes Peer's attempts to escape from the King and his trolls after having insulted his daughter.
"(The troll-courtiers): Slagt ham! Kristenmands søn har dåret.
Dovregubbens veneste mø!
(a troll-imp): Må jeg skjære ham i fingeren?
(another troll-imp): Må jeg rive ham i håret?
(a troll-maiden): Hu, hej, lad mig bide ham i låret!
(a troll-witch with a ladle): Skal han lages til sod og sø?
(another troll-witch, with a chopper): Skal han steges på spid eller brunes i gryde?
(the Old Man of the Dovre): Isvand i blodet!"
"Slay him! The Christian's son has bewitched
The Dovre King's fairest daughter!
May I hack him on the fingers?
May I tug him by the hair?
Hu, hei, let me bite him in the haunches!
Shall he be boiled into broth and bree?
Shall he roast on a spit or be browned in a stewpan?
Ice to your blood, friends! "
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