Norwegian composer and conductor Johan Halvorsen was born on 15 March 1864 at Drammen. He trained as a violinist and worked as an orchestral leader in Bergen. His career included playing in the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, leading an orchestra in Aberdeen, working as a professor of music in Helsinki.
He was appointed leader, and later principal conductor, of the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, and was conductor of the National Theatre Orchestra in Kristiania (now Oslo). He conducted performances of more than thirty operas and wrote incidental music to many plays. On retiring from his conducting commitments in 1929 he wrote three symphoniees and two Norwegian rhapsodies. He died in Oslo, aged 71, on 4 December 1935.
Spotlight. Absolute Brilliance - Gerald Fenech recommends Warner Classics' forty-two disc set of recordings by Paavo Berglund. '... a precious treasure-trove packed with musical diamonds that took twenty-seven years to complete.'
CD Spotlight. Brilliantly Performed - Music by Halvorsen, Nielsen and Svendsen impresses Gerald Fenech. 'Henning Kraggerud's technical brilliance lends a balanced fluidity to all three works, and each is allowed to betray all the enterprising orchestral colours hidden within each score.'
Ensemble. Incandescent Performance - Nigel Kennedy with the Royal Philharmonic and Andrew Litton, heard by Mike Wheeler
CD Spotlight. Virtuoso Duo - Performances by the Elaris Duo, recommended by Malcolm Tattersall. '... all the passion, drama and integrity one could want.'
Ensemble. A Delightful Afternoon - Lawrence Budmen listens to the Chameleon Musicians