Grieg: Bergliot; Symphonic Dances etc

Grieg: Bergliot; Symphonic Dances etc

CHSA 5301 (Chandos Records, SACD)

FIRST RELEASE (2 February 2024)

Playing time: 63'48"
Tracks: 7
Booklet pages: 44
℗ 2024 Chandos Records Ltd
© 2024 Chandos Records Ltd
Main country of recording: Norway
Reviewer: Geoff Pearce
Review of Grieg: Bergliot; Symphonic Dances etc published on 22 January 2024

Juni Dahr, speaker (track 5)
Mari Eriksmoen, soprano (track 6)
Astrid Nordstad, mezzo-soprano (track 6)
Female voices of Bergen Philharmonic Choir (track 6)
Female voices of Edvard Grieg Kor (track 6)
Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra
Melina Mandozzi, leader
Edward Gardner, conductor

Edvard Grieg:

Symfoniske danser (Symphonic Dances on Norwegian motives for large orchestra) Op 64 (1896-8)
1 Allegro moderato e marcato - Vivace - Più lento -
Tempo I - Vivace - Tempo I - Presto
2 Allegretto grazioso - Più mosso - Tempo I
3 Allegro giocoso
4 Andante - Allegro molto e risoluto - Con fuoco - Più tranquillo - Tempo I - Con fuoco - Presto - Stretto

5 Bergliot, declamation with orchestra, based on a poem by Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, Op 42 (1871, orchestrated 1885)

6 Foran sydens kloster (Before a Southern Convent, for soloists, female chorus and orchestra, based on Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson's Arnljot Gelline of 1870), Op 20 (1871)

7 Sørgemarsj over Rikard Nordraak (Funeral March for Rikard Nordraak for solo piano, orchestrated in 1907 by by Johan Halvorsen), EG 107 (1866)

Grieg's four Symphonic Dances are late works, completed in 1898. Grieg takes his inspiration (as in so much of his output) from traditional Norwegian folk tunes, and the four movements together deliver a symphonic unity in their overall effect. Both Bergliot and Before a Southern Convent are written on texts by Grieg's good friend the author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, who was also a theatre manager in Oslo. Bjørnson is considered one of the four great Norwegian authors alongside Ibsen, Lie, and Kielland, received the 1903 Nobel Prize for literature, and wrote the words for the Norwegian national anthem. Bergliot - a declamation with orchestra - tells the story of a dramatic episode involving the chieftain Einar Tambarskjelve and his son Eindride, killed by King Harald Hårdråde. Before a Southern Convent is a more traditional setting - requiring two vocal soloists, female choir, and orchestra rather than the narrator of Bergliot - of the story of the folk-hero and barbarian Arnljot Gelline. In the course of his wild escapades, he killed a chieftain, but allowed the chieftain's daughter, Ingigerd, to live. This daughter left the homestead and wandered southwards in poverty - through Europe. At long last she arrived at a convent which granted her admittance. The album is completed by the Funeral March for Rikard Nordraak - a friend of Grieg's, who died of tuberculosis in 1866. Grieg conceived it first for solo piano, but whilst travelling by train to Bergen to attend Grieg's funeral, Johan Halvorsen made the orchestral arrangement heard in this recording.

Recorded 23-27 August 2021 (Symphonic Dances and Bergliot) and 19-23 June 2023 (Before a Southern Convent and Funeral March for Rikard Nordraak) at the Grieghallen, Bergen, Norway.