Author Topic: Norwegian composers  (Read 66518 times)

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Offline André

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #60 on: June 19, 2019, 08:55:26 AM »

A couple of years ago (?) I went through my norwegian section. Can’t recall if I posted about it, maybe in the WAYL thread. I’ll see if I can locate the posts and copy them here. I have the bad habit of writing everything in the ‘main’ thread and not bother to check for the specialized ones  ::).

The period was September/October 2016. I’ll quote them here, but will exclude Saeverud, who has his own thread.

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Finn Mortensen (1922-1983).

Symphony no 1, op. 5 from 1953. Mariss Jansons' very first recording as MD of the Oslo Philharmonic (1979, label Aurora). This is a substantial work at 37 minutes, full of brute force, anger, but shot through with beams of hope and tenderness. There is another, more recent version on Simax (Terje Mikkelsen). According to the net, this is the most often played and most important symphony by a norwegian composer. I don't doubt it's excellent, even great. But there are others almost or just as magnificent by Egge, Kielland and Irgens-Jensen.

For some reason, the 20th century norwegian composers have sort of gone unnoticed compared to their finnish, swedish or danish counterparts. I think Norway lacked a seminal, established and recognized voice like those of Sibelius, Nielsen or Stenhammar to pave the way to the world's concert stages. Most of these norwegian orchestral works date from 1925+, by which time the other scandinavian countries' composers had more or less grabbed the musical world's attention.

Offline André

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #61 on: June 19, 2019, 09:00:20 AM »
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Masterpiece alert:

Olav Kielland's first symphony is an absolutely remarkable work. First performed in 1935. Here conducted by the composer (1901-1985) leading the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.



Offline André

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #62 on: June 19, 2019, 09:00:32 AM »
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Ludvig Irgens-Jensen:

- Tema con variazioni (1925). Oslo Philharmonic, Odd Gruner-Hegge.
- Passacaglia (1927) and Partita Sinfonica (1938). Oslo Philharmonic, Ole Kristian Ruud.

Good, very solid music. Not smiling or life-affirming. Irgens-Jensen seems to have been a serious character, not prone to expansiveness.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #63 on: June 19, 2019, 09:46:57 AM »
Along with the Kleiberg 'Bell Reef' my favourite Norwegian symphony. I have both the LP and CD. It also has a nautical theme, dedicated to the Norwegian merchant navy crews of World War Two. In its way it reminds me of Walton's First Symphony. The Karsten Andersen recording is fine but slightly boxed in and overloading at the great climax of the first movement. The older recording by Gruner-Hegge is better but has never been released on CD.
The Gruner-Hegge LP is below. You can find the complete performance on You Tube.



« Last Edit: June 19, 2019, 09:53:01 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

SymphonicAddict

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #64 on: June 19, 2019, 02:07:27 PM »
Interesting symphonies guys. The only one I know is the Mortensen and it's great indeed, granitic and serious.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #65 on: June 19, 2019, 08:26:22 PM »
Interesting symphonies guys. The only one I know is the Mortensen and it's great indeed, granitic and serious.

Suspect that you'd enjoy the Egge Cesar. The PC No.2 is very nice as well.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

SymphonicAddict

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #66 on: June 20, 2019, 01:03:14 PM »
Suspect that you'd enjoy the Egge Cesar. The PC No.2 is very nice as well.

I found the Symphony on YouTube and sounds good, the audio quality is regrettable, though, but I think I can improve its quality a bit by using a software.

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #67 on: June 20, 2019, 01:07:23 PM »
Since we are talking about Norwegian composers and more specifically symphonies, I found these files on the internet, which are a compendium of Scandivanian symphonies and their recordings (discography), among them many Norwegian names I hadn't heard before.

http://www.musicweb-international.com/Ntl_discogs/Scandinavian_symphonies/Scandinavian_symphoniesAK.pdf

http://www.musicweb-international.com/Ntl_discogs/Scandinavian_symphonies/Scandinavian_symphoniesLZ.pdf

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #68 on: June 24, 2019, 11:46:28 PM »
A strong recommendation for this CD of eloquent, poetic and approachable music by a contemporary composer:

I had to listen to SQ No.3 several times in a row. I think it would, for example, appeal to admirers of Vasks or VW for that matter. I was pleased to hear that Stale Kleiberg is an admirer of the music of VW. If nothing else listen to his wonderful 'Bell Reef' Symphony (see above):
« Last Edit: June 24, 2019, 11:50:40 PM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline kyjo

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #69 on: June 26, 2019, 03:15:28 PM »
Just wanted to put in a word for Eyvind Alnæs’ gorgeous, tuneful Piano Concerto (1913). Sometimes, lesser-known Romantic piano concertos go through all the motions and are pleasant enough but lack truly memorable material. Not so with this work, which is unmissable for lovers of the Romantic piano concerto. The outer movements are sweeping and ebullient, and to contrast the slow movement is noble and somber - far from the Rachmaninoffian outpouring of sentimentality that I expected. The below recording is excellent (there’s also a recording on Hyperion as part of their Romantic Piano Concerto series, coupled with the Sinding PC):



(The Symphony listed on the cover is the First. Alnæs wrote two, both recorded by Sterling. I look forward to exploring them!)

https://youtu.be/JKGzfpk_K_I
« Last Edit: June 26, 2019, 03:18:41 PM by kyjo »
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #70 on: June 26, 2019, 05:20:10 PM »
Just wanted to put in a word for Eyvind Alnæs’ gorgeous, tuneful Piano Concerto (1913). Sometimes, lesser-known Romantic piano concertos go through all the motions and are pleasant enough but lack truly memorable material. Not so with this work, which is unmissable for lovers of the Romantic piano concerto. The outer movements are sweeping and ebullient, and to contrast the slow movement is noble and somber - far from the Rachmaninoffian outpouring of sentimentality that I expected. The below recording is excellent (there’s also a recording on Hyperion as part of their Romantic Piano Concerto series, coupled with the Sinding PC):



(The Symphony listed on the cover is the First. Alnæs wrote two, both recorded by Sterling. I look forward to exploring them!)

https://youtu.be/JKGzfpk_K_I

The PC deserves wider recognition indeed, it's a lovely work. His 2 symphonies are wonderful as well, conservative but very well crafted.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2019, 05:35:21 PM by SymphonicAddict »

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #71 on: June 26, 2019, 09:13:56 PM »
Just wanted to put in a word for Eyvind Alnæs’ gorgeous, tuneful Piano Concerto (1913). Sometimes, lesser-known Romantic piano concertos go through all the motions and are pleasant enough but lack truly memorable material. Not so with this work, which is unmissable for lovers of the Romantic piano concerto. The outer movements are sweeping and ebullient, and to contrast the slow movement is noble and somber - far from the Rachmaninoffian outpouring of sentimentality that I expected. The below recording is excellent (there’s also a recording on Hyperion as part of their Romantic Piano Concerto series, coupled with the Sinding PC):



(The Symphony listed on the cover is the First. Alnæs wrote two, both recorded by Sterling. I look forward to exploring them!)

https://youtu.be/JKGzfpk_K_I
Looks to be of great interest. More temptation!
Thanks Kyle I may well explore this one.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #72 on: August 16, 2019, 11:23:12 AM »
I see André had posted the Kielland previously on this thread, and that was the recording I listened to. I agree with him: it's definitely a superb piece.

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #73 on: August 17, 2019, 09:57:08 AM »
I've just been listening to Toccata's new release of organ, choral and orchestral works by Leif Solberg (1914 - ) (yes he's still alive!)

What a find! Solberg is a brilliant organist and a master of counterpoint, but he had a busy life as a music teacher and church organist in Lillehammer and didn't compose much. Listening to this CD it's hard not to feel sorry he didn't write more.

The symphony (composed in 1950) is a half-hour work, and although Solberg's harmonic style is quite old fashioned it's a powerful piece. It sounds a bit like Nielsen of the First Symphony, but says more. It is said to composed in memory of his brother killed in WW2 and the motto theme has a tragic appoggiatura  which reminds me of Pettersen. The music is by turns sad and vigorous (sometimes sad and vigorous), the slow movement is an elegy and the last movement has a remarkable contrapuntal ending.

The other pieces on the disk are also of very high quality, and the disk made me immediately buy the only other work of his recorded, a String Quartet, which I'm about to listen to.

Yesterday I listened to this symphony. It was pleasant and with certain strength, but I don't think that it says more than Nielsen's 1st.

Offline kyjo

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #74 on: August 17, 2019, 12:25:51 PM »
Yesterday I listened to this symphony. It was pleasant and with certain strength, but I don't think that it says more than Nielsen's 1st.

I listened to the Solberg symphony a couple years ago and didn’t find it too distinctive, but maybe I should revisit it. Nielsen’s 1st, on the other hand, is a firm favorite of mine; an utterly brilliant work. To each his own, though!
"Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music" - Sergei Rachmaninoff

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #75 on: August 17, 2019, 02:33:33 PM »
I listened to the Solberg symphony a couple years ago and didn’t find it too distinctive, but maybe I should revisit it. Nielsen’s 1st, on the other hand, is a firm favorite of mine; an utterly brilliant work. To each his own, though!

True indeed, Kyle. Nielsen is one in millions.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #76 on: August 28, 2019, 11:27:04 AM »
I agree with André and Cesar about the Kielland Symphony No.1. I found it very gripping and had to play it again immediately. It reminded me a bit of Norgard's 'Sinfonia Austera'. I also liked the piano works on the CD much more than expected:
« Last Edit: August 28, 2019, 11:28:45 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #77 on: August 28, 2019, 12:21:40 PM »
I agree with André and Cesar about the Kielland Symphony No.1. I found it very gripping and had to play it again immediately. It reminded me a bit of Norgard's 'Sinfonia Austera'. I also liked the piano works on the CD much more than expected:


Fantastic, Jeffrey! I did know that you'd enjoy it. I must listen to the Norgard's Austera, now I left intrigued, and the piano work on the CD, of course.

Offline relm1

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #78 on: August 28, 2019, 02:48:13 PM »
Norwegian composer Ragnar Söderlind (b. 1945) Symphony No.8
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vr5oA_cyfZk


Offline vandermolen

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Re: Norwegian composers
« Reply #79 on: August 29, 2019, 09:14:47 AM »
Fantastic, Jeffrey! I did know that you'd enjoy it. I must listen to the Norgard's Austera, now I left intrigued, and the piano work on the CD, of course.

Oh, I'm sure that you'd like the 'Austera' Cesar, especially as you like Holmboe. There are two excellent recordings, as far as I'm aware, although the Chandos is my favourite.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).