This CD presents more than an hour’s worth of rarely-heard music. The three main works here were inspired by Edvard Grieg and his librettist Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson’s fascination with the Viking age, with the bulk of the program devoted to Olav Trygvason, the composer’s incomplete opera about Viking King Olav. Scenes 1-3, offered here, contain some of the more extended (and dramatic) musical sequences that Grieg, known chiefly for small-form pieces, ever composed. There’s melodically fetching (of course, it’s Grieg!) material for soprano, mezzo, and bass interspersed with stirring choral and orchestral passages (the end of Scene 2 brings to mind the composer’s famous Hall of the MountainRead more King). The characters interact in a narrative-dramatic oratorio style similar to Sibelius’ Kullervo Symphony.
It’s all men for the other two Viking works: the anthem-like Landkjenning (Land-Sighting) and Sigurd Jorsalfar (Sigurd the Crusader), familiar from the string orchestra suite Grieg arranged from his incidental music. The selections here expand upon that, including two robust male choruses, a stirring Horn Calls for orchestra, and Act 1’s Introduction and Intermezzo, both featuring fine tenor solos. After all its Viking bravado, the disc concludes with the gentle song Resignation, composed by Edmund Neupert and arranged by Grieg for orchestra. The performances by soloists, chorus, and orchestra are excellent throughout under conductor Bjarte Engeset’s leadership. And it’s all captured in top-notch sound. If you like Grieg, and vocal music, you’ll enjoy this release.
Olav Trygvason, Op. 50: Scenesby Edvard Grieg Conductor:
Malmö Symphony Orchestra,
Malmö Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: 1873; Norway
Average Customer Review: ( 5 Customer Reviews )
Glorious RecordingMarch 22, 2015By Henry S. (Springfield, VA)See All My Reviews"While I was preparing to post these comments, I was completely dismayed to discover that the average rating from other reviewers was only 3.5 stars (as of March 2015). Then I realized that one reviewer gave the recording 1 star because he had never received the disk from Arkivmusic, which seems to be more of a complaint about customer service than comments on the recording itself. While I sympathize with this situation (it's happened to me as well), unfortunately this potentially drags down the net impression others may have of this disk. If this is the case, it's a shame, because the recording is well worth hearing, and I am in agreement with the other viewers who gave it a 5 star rating. This is unfamiliar territory for most of us, and thus the disk is a real revelation. The Malmo Symphony Orchestra, the Malmo Opera Orchestra, and the various choruses and soloists are nothing short of magnificent in this survey of Edvard Grieg's compositions for chorus and orchestra. If you have never heard the Malmo Symphony Orchestra before, you absolutely owe it to yourself to sample the excellence of one of Scandinavia's truly great ensembles. The audio quality of the disk is excellent, with spaciousness and full spectrum sound. Fans of choral music should really take to this very worthwhile recording of rarely heard works. Recommended all the way."Report Abuse
Bravo to Norwegian Nationalism and HistoryMarch 7, 2015By William Muthig (Milan, OH)See All My Reviews"The music contain on this disc conveys Norwegian nationalism and pride in its Nordic past. Landkjenning and the choruses from Sigurd Jaorsalfar remind one of Bruckner's Helgoland. The performances are quite good as is the recording. This disc is worth adding to anyone's collection of the works of Edvard Grieg."Report Abuse
Grieg and Engeset - A Perfect CombinationApril 13, 2014By Reginald Jones (Hamilton, VA)See All My Reviews"Engeset's recording of Grieg music go from strength to strength. This time he and the Malmo Symphony have given us some real rarities. While you might think that he as scraping the bottom of Grieg's barrel, such is not the case. The pieces on this disc are real finds and increase one's estimation of Grieg's genius as a cokmposer and his skills as an orchestrator. The performances are superb and the recording is demonstration class."Report Abuse