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.
Grieg and Engeset - A Perfect CombinationApril 13, 2014By Reg 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
Speak Norse?April 11, 2014By Lawrence L. (Rutherford, NJ)See All My Reviews"Fine quality sound, although recording levels a little too low. Expected orchestral presentations, but got choral instead. Don't speak Norse; chorus was lost on me. "But for my part, it was greek to me.""Report Abuse
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