In his day, Johan Halvorsen was one of Norway's most talented violinists and an internationally renowned conductor and composer. With its beautifully lyrical themes and Norwegian character including Hardanger fiddle effects, his Violin Concerto was described by contemporary critics as "an outstanding work" and performed to great acclaim in 1909. It was considered lost, only to be rediscovered in 2015 in the archive of its original soloist. With its equally confident opening and symphonic proportions, Nielsen's Violin Concerto combines emotiveRead more power with a delightfully pastoral character, while Johan Svendsen's spontaneously inventive and melodic Romance has become one of his best-loved works.
This release really deserves wide attention, for it contains something rather rare: the world's recorded premiere of a major lost violin concerto, that being Johan Halvorsen's 1909 Violin Concerto, Op. 28. The work sounds less like Grieg than like a Norwegian version of Josef Suk, with strong folklore elements.
It's joined with Carl Nielsen's Violin Concerto, a work matching the Halvorsen well with its mix of dance rhythms and serious virtuosity. Svendsen's Romance is a tuneful interlude that likewise deserves a revival.
A highly enjoyable release, and a must for lovers of Scandinavian music.
Nice Music, But Solo Violin Lacks PowerJanuary 20, 2018By Henry S. (Springfield, VA)See All My Reviews"Although I have one slight reservation about the impact of this recent Naxos release,in general it is a very nice recording, with the outstanding Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud and equally outstanding Malmo Symphony Orchestra performing two Scandinavian violin concertos. One of them is reasonably well known, Carl Nielsen's lyrically flowing concerto from 1911. The other work is in fact a world premiere recording of Johan Halvorsen's violin concerto from the early 1900's. The CD notes provide an interesting account of the recent discovery (2015) of what was undoubtedly the sole extant copy of the score in the records of the Canadian violinist who originally premiered the work in 1908. Thus, we are essentially treated to a brand new concerto, and what a discovery it turns out to be! Brimming with Norwegian folk melodies and a sprightly, hauntingly beautiful character, this work will most assuredly bring a smile to the face of anyone who appreciates the collaboration of the violin and orchestra. Finally, to put an exclamation point on the end of these two concertos, the program ends with Johan Svendsen's Romance for Violin and Orchestra, adding just an extra bit of Norwegian flair. So far, so good- the soloist and orchestra cannot be faulted. On the other hand, I thought the sonic relationship between soloist and orchestra was not up to Naxos' standards. Specifically, I felt the sound level of the solo violin was too low, perhaps a fault of microphone placement during the recording? To some extent, this can be dealt with by turning up the volume on one's stereo; nevertheless, I felt this was a noticeable weakness in an otherwise fine program."Report Abuse
Good Music Worth Being HeardApril 11, 2017By Richard R. (Williamsburg, VA)See All My Reviews"While I wouldn't rate this as great music, it is certainly worth listening to more than a few times. The performances on this recording are very strong and lift the total listening experience to high levels. A good buy at good price."Report Abuse
A Broader Horizon on ScandinaviaMarch 16, 2017By bess holloway (Boulder, CO)See All My Reviews"This CD is important because it brings to the foreground composers who add depth to the overall musical picture that is Scandinavia. Kraggerud is a master violinist. NAXOS has provided a beautiful gift that will endure for years in anyone's collection."Report Abuse