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Good Norwegians


There have been several very good releases with Norwegian musicians lately. We take here some of the best.

Reality's Peer Gynt

Violinist Ole Bull is a mythical person in Norwegian music history. He was a model for Ibsen's Peer Gynt, and as one of the greatest violin virtuosos of the 1800th century, he was the most famous Norwegian in the world at this time.

Ole Bull – A Norwegian Pioneer (Simax) is a collection of Bull's most famous pieces, played by Norway's foremost Bull connoisseur and performer, Arve Tellefsen. He is accompanied by the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra conducted by Eivind Aadland and Håvard Gimse on piano. No one would argue that Bull's compositions are stor music – in addition, they are too clichéd and predictable. Their function was primarily to be a tool for demonstrating the composer's violin technique. But as such, they are successful – this is good entertainment music, and it becomes extra comfortable when it is played as well as Tellefsen and the fellow musicians do here. Tellefsen has an authoritative, sober and soft tone that gives the music dignity.

Rhythmic complex

It is not often Norwegian musicians take hold of the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók's music. Now, however, young violinist Annar Follesø has recorded Bartok's sonata for solo violin, the second sonata for violin and piano and contrast for violin, piano and clarinet together with pianist Christian Ihle Hadland and clarinetist Björn Nymann on the record label 2L.

Follesø combines emotional intensity with rhythmic stringency. The latter is important in Bartók's music, whose rhythm is often very complicated. He also has an infallible and effortless technique. Christian Tetzlaff has recorded the solo violin sonata and the two sonatas for violin and piano together with Leif Ove Andsnes at Virgin. Tetzlaff is more looking for the lyrical in these works, and does not emphasize rhythmic stringency to the same extent.

However, there are places in the second violin sonata where Tetzlaff and Andsnes' freer approach is preferable – they manage to produce a salon-ironic double bottom that is absent in Follesø and Hadland. With this release, Follesø has demonstrated that he is one of Norway's foremost violinists.

Separate and Human Removed

After recording all of Messiaen's music for solo piano, Håkon Austbø has played throughout Claude Debussy's solo piano ...artwork. Other volumes are now available at Simax. It is fitting that he now chooses Debussy, who was one of the Messiah's most important sources of inspiration.

This latest release, which is a double CD, contains the preludes, Children's corner and the times, as well as some small pieces. This is complicated music, which requires a performer to shape it. Austbø can. It is immediately noticeable that Austbø is not primarily concerned with treating these works as virtuoso music. It is, in a way, a "perplexing" reading, where Austbø is keen to box out the different layers of music. When it comes to the preludes, one does not get beyond Krystian Zimerman's interpretation of DG. This is music that moves in the details, and Zimerman's greater awareness of these and more "stoic" approaches brings out this music's distinct and human-removed character.

Life dances

Descriptions of JS Bach's suites are often a bit pathetic. This is how it often becomes when you put words into great music. For there is no doubt that these six works are some of the greatest ever written. They are in traditional suit form, with the dance sets allaande, courante, sarabande, menuet / bourrée / gavotte and gigue, with a prelude placed first. In these dances, Bach portrays all aspects of life, so that one can say that it is life itself that dances.

It is interesting how different sides of these works appear in different cellists according to what they emphasize. It's almost like you could wish to have all their recordings.

Truls Murk's interpretation is lyrical and fluid, and emphasizes the music's attempt to reach what lies beyond the music. As such, it is very good. It is a "felt" and heartfelt interpretation, with refined tempo fluctuations to emphasize the points. I wish that Dark had marked the rhythm to a greater extent, especially in the fast rates. These are admittedly stylized dances, but dance just as fully. Regardless of objections, these are high level interpretations. The release is available at Virgin.

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