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Cat. No. CHAN 10614 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10614 - Halvorsen: Orchestral Works, Volume 2
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Available From: 15 September 2010
Halvorsen: Orchestral Works, Volume 2

Neeme Järvi is back conducting the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, with the violinist Marianne Thorsen, in this second volume of Chandos’ series devoted to the orchestral works of Johan Halvorsen. This Norwegian composer, conductor, and violinist was a highly prominent figure in his country’s musical life during the first decades of the twentieth century. The works on this CD are all performed by the orchestra that Halvorsen himself conducted in the 1890s. As in the first volume of the series, they represent Nordic folk-based music at its very best: light and airy compositions with the strings firmly at centre stage. Air norvégien was described by Halvorsen’s contemporary, Edvard Grieg, as ‘a folk-tune medley, but so well
done that the result is a piece of art’.

Because Halvorsen spent more than thirty-six years working at the theatres in Bergen and Oslo, a large proportion of his compositional output is music for the stage. The movements of Suite ancienne were originally composed for the play The Lying-in Room by Ludvig Holberg in 1911. The first two movements, Intrata and Air con variazioni, are in the style of late-eighteenth-century serenades, whereas the Gigue, Sarabande, and Bourrée were modelled after baroque dances. Halvorsen himself counted Suite ancienne as one of his finest compositions.

Halvorsen also composed in more prestigious genres and his Second Symphony is commonly regarded as the best of his three symphonies. Nicknamed Fatum, the Second Symphony is inspired by the work’s opening motif which, in the manner of the ‘fate’ symphonies of Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, is heard in all four movements. In the second movement, Romance, a beautiful oboe cantilena is followed by a dramatic development that draws on the ‘fate’ motif, and the brisk main motif of the cheerful third movement, Intermezzo – the fate motif cleverly altered in rhythm – belongs among the most successful, and at the same time most personal, that Halvorsen ever wrote.

The performances throughout are top-notch and Chandos’s sound is of demonstration quality’ -  Gramophone on Orchestral Works, Vol 1
 

Reviews

"...I have only praise for both the conductor and his soloist, Marianne Thorsen, who possesses a velvety tone and an immaculate technique. The Bergen Philharmonic never has sounded better on disc. Good sound, and decent notes are also provided. Definitely recommended, and I am looking forward to the third volume,too."
Barry Brenesal - Fanfare - March/April 2011

“An absolute winner!”
GK
 

Limelight - February 2011

            ***
John Tyler Tuttle


 

Classica - December 2010-January 2011

“These works will appeal to anyone partial to the music of Grieg and Svensen.”  ****
John Sunier

Audiophile Audition - November 2010

         ‘Recording of the Month’
“The Bergen players and Neeme Jarvi give this music their fullest attention, and it is hard to imagine it being played any better. Marianne Thorsen has the requisite technique to play the virtuosic parts, and the sweetness of tone to sing in the Chant.”
“It will certainly find its way into my Recordings of the Year”
                                   
David J Barker
 

musicweb-international.com - November 2010

“Jarvi brings all his charm to these scores and gets performances of subtlety and finesse from Marianne Thorsen and the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra. The wonderfully natural sound is in the best Chandos manner.”
                                         
Robert Layton
 

International Record Review - November 2010

“The latest in Chandos’s Halvorsen series may be a slow burner but it’s a winner too”

Guy Rickards

 

The Gramophone - November 2010

 

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