Johan Halvorsen: Orchestral Works, Vol. 2

Audio Samples

>Halvorsen, Johan : Suite Ancienne, Op. 31
>Halvorsen, Johan : Norwegian Dance for violin & orchestra no 3
>Halvorsen, Johan : Air Norvegien for violin & orchestra, Op. 7
>Halvorsen, Johan : Chant de Veslemoy
>Halvorsen, Johan : Symphony no 2 in D minor ("Fate")

Album Summary

>Halvorsen, Johan : Suite Ancienne, Op. 31
>Halvorsen, Johan : Norwegian Dance for violin & orchestra no 3
>Halvorsen, Johan : Air Norvegien for violin & orchestra, Op. 7
>Halvorsen, Johan : Chant de Veslemoy
>Halvorsen, Johan : Symphony no 2 in D minor ("Fate")
Performer Conductor Ensemble
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Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Neeme Järvi is back conducting the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, with the violinist Marianne Thorsen, in this second volume of Chandos' series devoted to the orchestral works of Johan Halvorsen. This Norwegian composer, conductor, and violinist was a highly prominent figure in his country's musical life during the first decades of the twentieth century. The works on this CD are all performed by the orchestra that Halvorsen himself conducted in the 1890s. As in the first volume of the series, they represent Nordic folk-based music at its very best: light and airy compositions with the strings firmly at centre stage. Air norvégien was described by Halvorsen's contemporary, Edvard Grieg, as "a folk-tune medley, but so well done that the result is a piece of art".

"Judging by my Halvorsen shelf there should be one more release with the Third Symphony, Bergensiana, Nordraakiana, and Norwegian Festival Overture and- I hope- several suites from his music for the stage. If they're anywhere near as superbly played as the first two installments, I can't wait!"-American Record Guide

"Johan Halvorsen spent most of his career writing for the theater, which is probably why his music sounds so effortless, colorful, and well, efficient. This isn't meant to be disparaging. Rather, all of these pieces get right to the point, and none outstays its welcome, not even the Second Symphony, which clocks in at a bit under half an hour. It's conservative, harmonically and formally, but the music really works--it's a pleasure from beginning to end, and wholly convincing. This performance also is the first to correct the zillion errors in the printed score that have gone a long way to preventing the work from entering the repertoire, where it surely belongs.

The other pieces are all, in one way or another, ostensibly Norwegian in sound in a manner quite similar to Grieg. Again, there's nothing wrong with that. What sane person dislikes Grieg? The Suite ancienne, to the memory of Holberg, has every bit as much charm and freshness as Grieg's Holberg Suite, while the other three pieces all feature solo violin. Marianne Thorsen plays splendidly, while Neeme Järvi leads his Bergen forces in performances that are graceful, vibrant, and in the Suite and the Symphony, the last word in impetuosity and excitement. With terrific sound, if you don't know this music, you're missing something special." -ClassicsToday

"This is music that in less sensitive hands could easily pall, yet here every phrase pulsates with charm and energy, making even the simplest of gestures feel like musical gold. To hear the way Järvi magically shapes the theme and variations in the second movement of the Suite Ancienne is worth the price of the disc alone." -Classic FM Magazine ****

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway (08/24/2009-09/02/2009).



Reviews

Halvorsen Orchestral Works vol. 2
This new Chandos CD of the music of the neglected Romantic-era Norwegian composer Johan Halvorsen is an absolute delight from first note to last. Until recently, when music-lovers were asked: "How many Norwegian works can you name?" they typically replied: "Grieg's Piano Concerto and Halvorsen's 'Entry of the Boyars'." Thanks to ever more enterprising CD companies and European radio stations, who provide streaming classical music via cable, music-lovers worldwide can now enjoy increased performances of hitherto inaccessible music by neglected composers, including such Norwegians as Johan Halvorsen, Ole Olsen, Gerhard Schjelderup, Christian Sinding, and Johan Svendsen. This recording of Halvorsen's Symphony inevitably invites contrast with a competitive offering by the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra on the Simax label. Overall, the Chandos version is appreciably faster (27:57 vs. 32:42), and the tempi of the two outer movements are appreciably brisker. Since I have no score, I cannot say which is the more authentic. To my ear, both are excellently played and recorded. Of the other works on this CD, all are available elsewhere in other versions, but no other offering contains all five works on the same CD. The Bergen Symphony Orchestra plays splendidly under Neeme Järvi's expert conductorship. The excellent program notes are in English, French, and German. Highly recommended! Chandos included Halvorsen’s First Symphony on Volume 1, and now we have his Second on Volume 2. Dare we hope for a third volume that includes Halvorsen's Third Symphony? Ted Wilks
Submitted on 11/20/10 by Ted Wilks 
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Works Details

>Halvorsen, Johan : Suite Ancienne, Op. 31
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Notes: Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway (08/24/2009-09/02/2009)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 52 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic

>Halvorsen, Johan : Norwegian Dance for violin & orchestra no 3
  • Performer: Marianne Thorsen (Violin)
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Notes: Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway (08/24/2009-09/02/2009)
  • Running Time: 3 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Concerto

>Halvorsen, Johan : Air Norvégien for violin & orchestra, Op. 7
  • Performer: Marianne Thorsen (Violin)
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Notes: Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway (08/24/2009-09/02/2009)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Concerto

>Halvorsen, Johan : Chant de Veslemoy
  • Performer: Marianne Thorsen (Violin)
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Notes: Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway (08/24/2009-09/02/2009)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic

>Halvorsen, Johan : Symphony no 2 in D minor ("Fate")
  • Conductor: Neeme Järvi
  • Notes: Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway (08/24/2009-09/02/2009)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 42 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Orchestral