Nordic Spring

String music from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland

Author: 
Mike Ashman
PSC1264 Nordic Spring Norwegian Chamber OrchestraNordic Spring

Nordic Spring

  • Holberg Suite
  • Suite for Violin, Viola and String Orchestra
  • Romance
  • Little Suite
  • Serenade for Viola and Orchestra
  • Valse triste

Scandinavian string-playing continues to gleam with virtuosity in this Norwegian round-up of what are effectively highlights of such repertoire in regional terms. Newer, however – and most welcome – are the searching, darker interpretative colours the ensemble now brings to much-performed music. These amount to a slap in the face for lazier listeners who – like Stravinsky about Grieg – believe that the icy landscapes often evoked by the music are stuffed with nothing more than sweet bonbons.

From earliest times – as Terje Tønnesen, the orchestra’s violinist director, recalls – the Holberg Suite was the NCO’s particular calling card. Their revised look at this score now pays especial attention to the serious aspects of this evocation of the great writer’s age, especially in the sadness of the fourth-movement Air – a case, perhaps, of less pastiche Bach and more Grieg. Similarly, the Prelude to Nielsen’s Little Suite is mined for all the darker, even sinister colours it can produce, while Sibelius’s Valse triste is profoundly sad without the merest hint of irony or self-pity.

Three items less familiar to non-Scandinavian ears provide contrasting not-so-sweetmeats. Enjoy particularly the 1917 Suite by Kurt Atterberg, long-serving patent officer, stalwart symphonist and winner (with his Sixth Symphony) of the Columbia Graphophone Company’s 1928 competition in homage to Schubert’s Unfinished. With obbligato roles for both leader Tønnesen and guest viola player Tomter, its three movements feature strong melodic hooks.

This cherishable, fresh look at this music was naturally (by which I mean, unglossily) recorded in the increasingly used modern Lommedalen Church.

Gramophone Subscriptions

From£67/year

Gramophone Print

Gramophone Print

no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Reviews

Gramophone Reviews

no Print Edition
no Digital Edition
no Digital Archive
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe
From£67/year

Gramophone Digital Edition

Gramophone Digital Edition

no Print Edition
no Reviews Database
no Events & Offers
From£67/year
Subscribe

If you are a library, university or other organisation that would be interested in an institutional subscription to Gramophone please click here for further information.

© MA Business and Leisure Ltd. 2019