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Arve Tellefsen Plays Ole Bull

Bull / Tellefsen,Arve
Release Date: 10/26/2010 
Label:  Simax   Catalog #: 1312   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ole Borneman BullEdvard Grieg
Performer:  Arve TellefsenCatherine BullockEileen SiegelHarald Aadland,   ... 
Conductor:  Eivind Aadland
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BULL Nocturne 1. Sæterjentens Sondag 2. Et Sæterbesøg 3. Adagio religioso, “A Mother’s Prayer. 4 ” Polacca guerriera: excerpt 5. Violin Concerto No. 2: Adagio Sostenuto 6. Agiaco Cubano: Grand Read more March; 7 Andante maestoso 8. Cantabile doloroso e Rondo giocoso 9. In Moments of Solitude: La Mélancolie 10. Fjeldstuen: Sigrids sang. 11 Barcarolle 12. Scotch Fantasy. 13 Andante cantabile. 14 Cantabile 15. In Moments of Solitude 16. GRIEG Gavotte. 17 Menuet 18 Arve Tellefsen (vn); 1,3-9 Eivin Aadland, cond; Trondheim SO; 2,10 String Ens; 11-18 Håvard Gimse (pn) SIMAX 1312 (78:16)


Since his death, violinist Ole Borneman Bull (1810–80) has been idolized as a virtuoso and a saint no more frequently than he’s been vilified as a vulgarian and charlatan. Unlike his competitor for American audiences, Henri Vieuxtemps, Bull largely restricted himself to playing (sentimental?) fantasies of his own invention on folk melodies. With these, Bull triumphed in America’s hinterlands, while Vieuxtemps made the deepest impression in the great centers of culture. But that didn’t stop Vieuxtemps from composing his Variations on “Yankee Doodle” for his American trips. Norwegian violinist Arve Tellefsen championed Bull’s music for violin and orchestra in a recording with Andrew Karsten and the Bergen Symphony Orchestra from 1988 (Norsk Kulturrå ds Klassikerserie 50008), including in his program I Ensomme Stunde , the Adagio sostenuto from the Concerto fantastico , the Polacca Guerriera, Et Sæterbesøg , and a Fantasy and Variations on a Theme by Bellini, the last work not included in his new collection on Simax.


Although few violinists have taken up Bull’s repertoire, Tellefsen’s commanding performance of the Nocturne from 1842 weaves the powerful spell with which a first-rate violinist can charm his audiences in these works, which depend perhaps more on the communicative skills of their interpreter than on any merits of their own. His beguiling tone may or may not sound like Bull’s, but whatever the similarity, it’s been captured faithfully in sumptuous recorded sound and suffices to make Bull’s point. He wrings the last drop of sentiment from the brief Sæterjentens Sondag (The Herdgirl’s Sunday, accompanied discreetly here by a string ensemble) and Et Sæterbesøg (A Mountain Vision) from 1848–49, although the latter, a composition of greater length, encompasses a variety of moods and incorporates passages that sound like folk (Hardanger?) fiddling as well as the Paganini-like virtuosic passages upon which Bull partly built his reputation, passages in which Tellefsen seems to revel as unashamedly as Bull apparently did (the parallel photographs on the jewel case’s cover reveal more than a passing similarity in prototype and admirer’s aplomb). The Adagio religioso , subtitled En moders Bøn (A Mother’s Prayer) from 1834 opens with recitative-like passages that Tellefsen declaims with confident panache before settling into the piece’s reflective mood. The Polacca guerriera from 1835, at 10:22 the longest piece on the program, finds Bull in a heroic mode, displaying the kind of flamboyant virtuoso gestures that enliven Ernst’s, Vieuxtemps’s, and Wieniawski’s concertos. Tellefsen seems as comfortable with these as with the expressive demands of the old-fashioned sensibility of pieces depicting mountains and herdgirls. The Adagio sostenuto from Bull’s Second Violin Concerto from 1840–41 (which appears as a whole on Annar Follesø’s collection for 2L—on Blu-ray audio and SACD, 2L 67, Fanfare 34:2) sounds comparatively restrained, though touching in its own way. The rhythmic Grand March from 1844 makes few demands on either violinist or listener, while the Cantabile doloroso e Rondo giocoso from 1837, a longer work, combines both of Bull’s and Tellefsen’s moods. The simple, reflective I ensomme stunde (In Moments of Solitude), accompanied, again, by a smaller string ensemble (two violins, two violas, two cellos, and bass), brings the first half of the program to a close.


Bull played chamber music with Edvard Grieg, but they appeared in public only once together, according to August Albertson’s notes, and on that occasion they played the Gavotte and Menuet that Tellefsen has included on the program as a tribute. Listeners will recognize the Menuet as the slow movement from Grieg’s First Sonata. Tellefsen plays both pieces with tantalizing piquancy.


The rest of the program consists of miniatures for violin and piano, starting off with another selection from Agiaco Cubano, Andante maestoso , which sounds like a solo work by Paganini (or, alternatively, something that Tellefsen makes sound like one). The relatively straightforward air Sigrid’s sang , from 1849, comes from a nationalistic opera, Fjeldstuen (The Mountain Cottage), that Bull attempted on a book by his friend Henrik Wergeland. The Barcarolle from 1833–35, the Scotch Fantasy , the Andante cantabile, the Cantabile written in 1842 in remembrance of a concert in Fredriksværn, all of them less complicated affairs, pass quickly; the violin-and-piano section of the program concludes, as did the first half, with I ensomme stunde.


Follesø’s somewhat less expressive playing doesn’t make as much of Bull’s most poignant moments, despite 2L’s redolent Blu-ray sonics, although the release included the complete violin concertos in A Major and E Minor, as well as Sæterjentens Søndag, Et Sæterbesøg, I Ensomme Stunde , and a work not included in either of Tellefsen’s programs, La Verbena de San Juan , accompanied by Ole Kristian Ruud and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra (and the engineers in the Simax recording capture an even more captivating beauty in Tellefsen’s tone than appeared in his earlier collection). But, as I’ve remarked before in discussing some period-instrument performances of Locatelli’s concertos, looking down the wrong end of the telescope diminishes the sense of grandeur of even the most prepossessing moments of the great virtuosos’ compositions.


Tellefsen’s large-scale performances make clear why audiences lionized Bull. Those who enjoy hearing the exploits of Paladins of the bow who threw caution to the winds, re-created in the grand manner (those who listen avidly, for example, to extroverted performances of Wieniawski’s and Vieuxtemps’s first concertos) should treasure Simax’s collection. For others, no explanation or appeal will be possible. Urgently recommended to the former kind of listeners.


FANFARE: Robert Maxham
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Works on This Recording

1.
Nocturne for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 2 by Ole Borneman Bull
Performer:  Arve Tellefsen (Violin)
Conductor:  Eivind Aadland
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Norway 
Venue:  Olavshallen, Trondheim, Norway 
Length: 3 Minutes 59 Secs. 
2.
Säterjäntans söndag by Ole Borneman Bull
Performer:  Catherine Bullock (Viola), Eileen Siegel (Violin), Harald Aadland (Violin),
Arve Tellefsen (Violin), Nora Taksdal (Viola), Dan Styffe (Double Bass),
Bjorn Solum (Cello), Anne Britt Sævig Årdal (Cello)
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Jar kirke, Oslo 
Length: 2 Minutes 53 Secs. 
3.
A Mountain Vision by Ole Borneman Bull
Performer:  Arve Tellefsen (Violin)
Conductor:  Eivind Aadland
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848-1849; Norway 
Venue:  Olavshallen, Trondheim, Norway 
Length: 7 Minutes 12 Secs. 
4.
Adagio Religioso by Ole Borneman Bull
Performer:  Arve Tellefsen (Violin)
Conductor:  Eivind Aadland
Period: Romantic 
Written: Norway 
Venue:  Olavshallen, Trondheim, Norway 
Length: 7 Minutes 48 Secs. 
5.
Polacca Guerriera by Ole Borneman Bull
Performer:  Arve Tellefsen (Violin)
Conductor:  Eivind Aadland
Period: Romantic 
Written: Norway 
Venue:  Olavshallen, Trondheim, Norway 
Length: 10 Minutes 22 Secs. 
6.
Concerto for Violin in E minor: Adagio by Ole Borneman Bull
Performer:  Arve Tellefsen (Violin)
Conductor:  Eivind Aadland
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1841; Norway 
Venue:  Olavshallen, Trondheim, Norway 
Length: 4 Minutes 41 Secs. 
7.
Agiaco Cubano, for violin & piano (or orchestra) by Ole Borneman Bull
Performer:  Arve Tellefsen (Violin), Håvard Gimse (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1844 
Length: 7 Minutes 17 Secs. 
8.
Cantabile doloroso e Rondo giocoso, for violin & orchestra by Ole Borneman Bull
Performer:  Arve Tellefsen (Violin)
Conductor:  Eivind Aadland
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837 
Venue:  Olavshallen, Trondheim, Norway 
Length: 8 Minutes 40 Secs. 
9.
La mélancolie by Ole Borneman Bull
Performer:  Arve Tellefsen (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1850; Norway 
Venue:  Jar kirke, Oslo 
Length: 2 Minutes 48 Secs. 
10.
Sigrids sang (Sigrid's Song), for violin & piano by Ole Borneman Bull
Performer:  Håvard Gimse (Piano), Arve Tellefsen (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1849 
Venue:  Jar kirke, Oslo 
Length: 2 Minutes 4 Secs. 
11.
Barcarolle by Ole Borneman Bull
Performer:  Håvard Gimse (Piano), Arve Tellefsen (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1833-1835; Norway 
Venue:  Jar kirke, Oslo 
Length: 2 Minutes 7 Secs. 
12.
Scotch Fantasy, for violin & piano by Ole Borneman Bull
Performer:  Arve Tellefsen (Violin), Håvard Gimse (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Jar kirke, Oslo 
Length: 3 Minutes 52 Secs. 
13.
Andante cantabile by Ole Borneman Bull
Performer:  Håvard Gimse (Piano), Arve Tellefsen (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Norway 
Venue:  Jar kirke, Oslo 
Length: 1 Minutes 57 Secs. 
14.
Cantabile, for violin & piano (Reminicens from Concerten i Fredriksvæn) by Ole Borneman Bull
Performer:  Arve Tellefsen (Violin), Håvard Gimse (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842 
Venue:  Jar kirke, Oslo 
Length: 2 Minutes 1 Secs. 
15.
Sigurd Jorsalfar, Op. 22: Gavotte by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Håvard Gimse (Piano), Arve Tellefsen (Violin)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1872; Norway 
Date of Recording: 11/14/2009 
Venue:  Jar kirke, Oslo 
Length: 3 Minutes 37 Secs. 
16.
Sonata for Violin and Piano no 1 in F major, Op. 8: Menuet by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Arve Tellefsen (Violin), Håvard Gimse (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Norway 
Date of Recording: 11/14/2009 
Venue:  Jar kirke, Oslo 
Length: 5 Minutes 22 Secs. 

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