Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Geirr Tveitt - Piano Concerto No. 5; Hardanger Variations (Nils Mortensen; Ole Kristian Ruud)


Composer: Geirr Tveitt
  1. Piano Concerto No. 5, Op. 156: I.
  2. Piano Concerto No. 5, Op. 156: II.
  3. Piano Concerto No. 5, Op. 156: III.
  4. Variations on a folk song from Hardanger for 2 pianos & orchestra

Nils Mortensen, piano
Sveinung Bjelland, piano (4)
Stavanger Symphony Orchestra
Ole Kristian Ruud, conductor

Date: 2004
Label: BIS




Naxos recorded both of these pieces very successfully and coupled them differently, but questions of price notwithstanding, this newcomer edges out the competition in two respects. First, the characteristically first-class BIS sonics eclipse even the otherwise excellent Naxos productions, offering more natural instrumental perspectives and a richer bass response, so important in this colorfully scored music. Second, Nils Mortensen and Ole Ruud take just a bit more time with each work, and rather than lowering the level of tension, this extra maneuvering room brings to the surface even more ear-catching detail while permitting a touch more bounce to Tveitt’s folk-influenced rhythms.

Both pieces have as their basis the Hardanger folk songs that provided the inspiration for so much of Tveitt’s music, and pianists Mortensen and (in the Variations) Sveinung Bjelland give impressive accounts of the very full solo parts. Let’s hope that someone soon gets around to reconstructing the Third Piano Concerto, a tape of which exists along with, we presume, what remnants of score survived the fire that consumed so much of the composer’s life’s work. I’ve been singing Tveitt’s praises for a couple of years now, and I see no reason to alter my view of him as one of the most enjoyable and important Scandinavian composers of the past century. Do get to know him. [5/10/2004]

-- David HurwitzClassicsToday

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Geirr Tveitt, born Nils Tveit (October 19, 1908 – February 1, 1981) was a Norwegian composer and pianist. Tveitt was a central figure of the national movement in Norwegian cultural life during the 1930s. His music draws from many styles and traditions, most notably Stravinsky, Bartók, Debussy and Ravel, always underpinned by idioms derived from Norwegian folk-music. In 1970, Tveitt's house in Kvam was burned to the ground, with almost 300 opuses of his manuscripts. 80% of Tveitt's production was gone forever. Most of Tveitt's remaining music is now commercially available on records.


Nils Mortensen (born 1971 in Flekkefjord) is an Norwegian pianist. He began playing piano at age three. He studied at the Norwegian Academy of Music, École Normale in Paris, and Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover. His most important teachers have been Einar Steen-Nøkleberg, Tatjana Nikolajeva, and Hans Leygraf. In 1986 he won the Norwegian Young Pianist Competition. In recent years, Mortensen has made a number of recordings, exploring the Norwegian repertoire.


Ole Kristian Ruud (born 2 October 1958, Lillestrøm) is a Norwegian conductor. He studied clarinet with Richard Kjelstrup at the Norwegian Academy of Music, and studied conducting at the Sibelius Academy. Ruud was principal conductor of the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, Norrköping Symphony Orchestra and Stavanger Symphony Orchestra. He has been professor of conducting at the Norwegian Academy of Music since 1999. In 2005, he completed recording the complete orchestral works of Grieg with the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, for BIS records.


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