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Grieg: Violin Concertos / Kraggerud, Tromso CO

Release Date: 05/28/2013 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8573137   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Henning Kraggerud
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tromso Chamber Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Length: 1 Hours 7 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Everyone loves Grieg. Everyone wishes he had written more orchestral works in large forms. Well, now he has, more or less. I have to confess that I had some qualms about this project to arrange the three violin sonatas as violin concertos, especially on reading the statement, “In these arrangements the solo violin is set against a string orchestra augmented by wind instruments in order to retain the feel of chamber music.” After all, if you want to “retain the feel of chamber music,” why not just stick to the originals?

In turns out that listening is believing. These are superbly made arrangements. The fact is that Grieg’s writing for solo violin in a duo sonata is naturally quite
Read more different from the kind that would have been necessary in a romantic concerto for violin and large orchestra. The use of restrained forces is thus entirely appropriate, and by having four woodwinds on hand–one each of bassoon, clarinet, oboe, and flute–there’s just enough contrast to prevent monotony and color the orchestral melodies effectively. Try, for example, the bassoon solo at the start of the F major Concerto’s central Allegretto (sound clip). It’s delightful–just right.

The concluding bars of the Second Concerto’s finale basically summarize all that can be done to transform Grieg’s piano original into a work for string orchestra (second clip). To facilitate comparison, and show how effective these arrangements truly are, I also provide the violin and keyboard original (third clip). Violinist Henning Kraggerud is more than just an able transcriber (along with colleague Bernt Simen Lund). He is the excellent soloist and leader of the very fine Tromsø Chamber Orchestra. They sound lovely together–by turns robust, delicate, and always sensitively balanced. The result couldn’t be more natural.

This beautifully recorded release has to be accounted one of the most successful projects of its type ever realized, and this is certainly one of the best discs of the year.

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Sonata for Violin and Piano no 3 in C minor, Op. 45 by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Henning Kraggerud (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tromso Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886-1887; Norway 
Notes: Arrangement: Henning Kraggerud and Bernt Simen Lund 
Sonata for Violin and Piano no 2 in G major, Op. 13 by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Henning Kraggerud (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tromso Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; Norway 
Notes: Arrangement: Henning Kraggerud and Bernt Simen Lund 
Sonata for Violin and Piano no 1 in F major, Op. 8 by Edvard Grieg
Performer:  Henning Kraggerud (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tromso Chamber Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Denmark 
Notes: Arrangement: Henning Kraggerud and Bernt Simen Lund 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  5 Customer Reviews )
 Fabulous July 18, 2014 By Henry S. (Springfield, VA) See All My Reviews "The 3 violin concertos on this Naxos disk were originally written as violin sonatas by Edvard Grieg. Refashioned into concertos by the superb Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud, the result is simply amazing- fresh, lyrical, and intensely impressive. Henning Kraggerud himself is the soloist with the excellent Tromso Chamber Orchestra from Northern Norway. Cynics might call this recording a form of 'old wine in new bottles.' Okay, let them have their say, but the truth is this- the wine is vintage and the bottles are exquisite new containers, certain to catch the attention of any wine connoisseur (classical music fan). In my opinion, this is a truly magnificent recording- the soloist is magisterial, the orchestra provides superior accompaniment, and the CD's sonic quality is audiophile all the way. Don't hesitate on this one- highest recommendation for a disk you are certain to love!!" Report Abuse
 Beautiful music, beautifully played. January 31, 2014 By Diane H. (Topsham, ME) See All My Reviews "These concertos were unfamiliar to me, and I was pleased to discover how lovely they are - delightful to the ear and and soothing to the soul." Report Abuse
 Well worth doing January 29, 2014 By DAVID Brown (SAN PEDRO, CA) See All My Reviews "These works are perfect Innocent Ear fodder, particularly for someone like me who didn't know the Violin Sonatas on which they are based. I still don't, but I really ought to give them a listen, if only to compare with these three "concerti for violin and chamber orchestra" that Messrs Kraggerud and Lund have skilfully wrought. The liner notes too, by Kraggerud himself, are a model of useful succinctness, combining brief accounts of the original sonatas with a convincing justification for making the arrangements, and some fascinating detail of the challenges that arose in the process. The only thing that makes me hold back the fifth star is the recording, or maybe it's the transfer. The sound is very close-up and in-your-face — I had to twiddle the volume knob about seven notches back to get the level down to something reasonable. Even then the sound is a little airless; I wonder whether the engineers, recording in a church, found there was rather a lot of reverberation to deal with and thus close-miked the players? (Nothing wrong with the actual balance between violin and orchestra, though). If so, I would have preferred them to pull back a bit and let the reverb take care of itself. However... with that proviso, both the music and the performances on this disc are a delight. Go for it." Report Abuse
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