Notes and Editorial Reviews
This much awaited recording offers keenly idiomatic performances of the most famous works by Grieg, played by the composer’s own orchestra, the Bergen Philharmonic, and its Chief Conductor, Edward Gardner. The drama and passion of such favourite pieces as the incidental music to Peer Gynt and the Piano Concerto are superbly captured in surround-sound with exemplary Chandos sound quality. Unlike most existing recordings, offering only the orchestral suites, this disc presents numerous extra excerpts from Peer Gynt, which follow the sequence of Henrik Ibsen‘s dramatic poem, including sections for the unique Norwegian 'Hardanger Fiddle’. Having collaborated with the orchestra on several occasions, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet is the soloist in the Piano Concerto, a piece that stands out as a shining example of a single great thought captured and expressed in music. The power of this conception is evident throughout the concerto in the pianist’s faithful, yet highly romantic interpretation.
In the Piano Concerto, Gardner brings to the table flair, drive, and an almost Tchaikovskian lushness to the string sound, which matches well Bavouzet's commanding manner in the piano's opening flourish. Bavouzet bewitches in the slow movement, not just in the clarity of his lines but also in the sense of ebb and flow. He fully claims his status as a supreme virtuoso in the work's finale.