Huldra (2014)

duration 6:00

The Huldra is a forest spirit of Scandinavian folklore. In Sweden she is also known as Skogsfru (Lady of the Forest) and Tallemaja (Pine Tree Maja). She seduces men, leading them deep into the forest.

A tall and beautiful young woman with long flowing hair, the Huldra can be distinguished in the South of Sweden by her hollow back, like a rotting tree trunk, and in the North by her long cows' tail. Hunters and farmers' sons are lured into the woods by her great beauty and lovely singing.

The Huldra may hold a man under her spell for years. If unsatisfied, betrayed, or angered, she will punish him severely. Escapees of her charms can be found wandering in the wilderness without memory.

The shadowy textures, seductive lines, and violent chords of Huldra were inspired by this legend and by the raw beauty and danger of the boreal forest wilderness. 

Huldra was commissioned by the University of North Dakota Department of Music, and written for marimbist Caleb Fritel.


Caleb Fritel - Marimba
Huldra by Matthew Peterson


premiere: Caleb Fritel, University of North Dakota, September 17 2014
additional performances: Illinois Wesleyan University, 3/10/2016