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Cat. No. CHAN 10710 Price: £10.5 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10710 - Halvorsen: Orchestral Works, Volume 4
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Available From: 15 March 2011

Halvorsen: Orchestral Works, Vol. 4 – Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Neeme Järvi

This is the fourth and final volume of colourful and highly appealing orchestral works by the Norwegian composer Johan Halvorsen.

Based on the Passacaille (Chaconne) from the Harpsichord Suite No. 7 in G minor by Handel, Halvorsen’s Passacaglia is a virtuosic duo for solo violin and viola, later made world famous by artists such as Leopold Auer and Jascha Heifetz. It starts as a simple arrangement of Handel’s original score, but after the presentation of the theme and the first three variations it gradually differs more and more, until it finally frees itself entirely from the original and becomes pure ‘Halvorsen’.

Halvorsen wrote extensively for the stage, and his lifelong fascination with ‘exotic’ elements in music is evident in the ‘Dance Scene’ from the incidental music to Knut Hamsun’s Queen Tamara, a historical play set in the Caucasus. In contrast, the Symphonic Intermezzo from the music to Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson’s The King is presented in the form of a tone poem, its language strongly influenced by the musical universe of Liszt and Wagner.

Also on this disc is Halvorsen’s orchestration of Grieg’s piano piece Norwegian Bridal Procession. Other orchestral versions exist, among others by Frederick Delius, but in Grieg’s eyes only a native Norwegian could portray rural Norway in music without becoming too romantic or picturesque. Halvorsen’s lush, but non-idealising orchestration proved an immediate success, and at concerts and in the theatre over the next twenty-six years Halvorsen conducted the work at least 140 times.

He considered his Norwegian Fairy Tale Pictures to be one of his best works. The suite is vividly programmatic, drawn from music that he had written for a children’s comedy: violins portray the fairy tale hero, the flute plays the part of the abducted princess, while the villainous troll is represented by a motif in the bass.

Reviews

                    **** (Good)
Norbeert Tischer - Pizzicato magazine - October 2012

"...Strongly recommended."
Barry Brenesal - Fanfare - September/October 2012


“...If all you know of Johan Halvorsen is the stirring Entry of the Boyars, you really should have been collecting Jarvi’s Chandos recordings all along; if not by all means start here.”
Steven J Haller – American Record Guide – July/August 2012

                      *****      Exceptional

Riccardo Cassani – Musica magazine – July/August 2012

"A delightful conclusion to the Chandos project to set down the colourful orchestral works of the Norwegian composer Johan Halvorsen. The series has been ably performed by the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra under Neeme Järvi. Also on the CD is Halvorsen’s orchestration of Grieg’s piano piece Norwegian Bridal Procession."
Barry Forshaw - CDChoice.co.uk - 6 June 2012

"...Neeme Järvi throughout directs with rich and romantic warmth but no little rhythmic snap too, and the Bergen Philharmonic has been excellently recorded. Most enjoyable."
 
Jonathan Woolf -  musicweb-international.com - 12 June 2012

"... a musical delight."
Guy Rickards - Gramophone - July 2012

“...Neeme Jarvi and the Bergen Philharmonic play two Norwegian rhapsodies and Norwegian Fairy Tale Pictures, together with a number of short pieces all of which catch the characteristic folk idiom. This is the fourth volume of the series which has been very successful in making this music known to the British public.”
Peter Spaull – Liverpool Daily Post – 20 April 2012

 

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