Norwegian Violin Favourites

Beautifully played with simple eloquence on a modern violin, these folk-inspired [piece] pieces are highly recommended at Naxos price

Author: 
Ivan March

Norwegian Violin Favourites

  • Saeterjentens Søndag, 'The Herd-girls' Sunday'
  • (La) Mélancolie
  • Concerto for Violin and Orchestra
  • Melodies of the Heart, No. 3, I love but thee (Jeg elsker dig)
  • Maiden's Song
  • (The) Old Fisherman's Song
  • Andante religioso
  • Suite for Violin and Orchestra, 'im alten Stil'
  • Romance

The best-known piece here is Svensen's disarmingly memorable Romance, with its romanticised folk-like main theme (beautifully played here). Svensen, like Grieg, owed much to Ole Bull, who, born in Bergen in 1810, was a virtuoso of the traditional Norwegian Hardanger fiddle. He took his folk-instrument to Europe and achieved considerable success in Paris. He was also one of the first collectors of Norwegian folk-tunes, which he used in his own music. The opening piece here, The Herd-girls' Sunday, with its charming melancholy, is characteristic, but the touching Adagio from his Violin Concerto shows that he could also use his collected themes more ambitiously. Johan Halvorsen, a contemporary of Grieg, continued the tradition, offering simple, colourful settings of memorable ideas, and the Sinding Suite is in the same vein.
Henning Kraggerud plays on a modern violin, and with a lovely tone presents these miniatures with a simple eloquence that is disarmingly pleasurable. He ends his programme with two favourite Grieg items which show how folk material could be transmuted by a really great composer. He is very well accompanied and recorded, and this is altogether a most engaging lightweight concert, which at Naxos price is highly recommendable.
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