Halvorsen, Nielsen & Svendsen: Music for Violin & Orchestra / Kraggerud, Engeset, Malmo Symphony
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 emotive 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.
– All Music Guide (James Manheim)
Catalog Number: 8573738
Composer: Carl Nielsen, Johan Halvorsen, Johan Svendsen
Conductor: Bjarte Engeset
Orchestra/Ensemble: Malmö Symphony Orchestra
Performer: Henning Kraggerud