Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Geirr Tveitt - Sinfonia di soffiatori; Sinfonietta di soffiatori (Bjarte Engeset)


Information

Composer: Geirr Tveitt
  1. Sinfonia di Soffiatori: I. Moderato
  2. Sinfonia di Soffiatori: II. Alla Marcia
  3. Sinfonia di Soffiatori: III. Andante
  4. Prince Christian Fredrick's March of Honour
  5. The Old Mill on the Brook, Op. 204
  6. Hymn to Freedom
  7. Sinfonietta di soffiatori, Op. 203: I. Intonazione d'autunno
  8. Sinfonietta di soffiatori, Op. 203: II. Ricordi d'estate
  9. Sinfonietta di soffiatori, Op. 203: III. Fanfara funebre
  10. Sinfonietta di soffiatori, Op. 203: IV. Allegria alpestre
  11. Sinfonietta di soffiatori, Op. 203: V. Canto di congedo
  12. 100 Folk-tunes from Hardanger, Op. 151, Suite No. 2 "15 Mountain Songs" (arr. Stig Nordhagen): 20. Strong ale to the mountain farm
  13. 100 Folk-tunes from Hardanger, Op. 151, Suite No. 2 "15 Mountain Songs" (arr. Stig Nordhagen): 23. Snow grouse on the glacier
  14. 100 Folk-tunes from Hardanger, Op. 151, Suite No. 2 "15 Mountain Songs" (arr. Stig Nordhagen): 29. The mountaineer's daughter on skis
  15. 100 Folk-tunes from Hardanger, Op. 151: Suite No. 4, "Wedding Suite" (arr. Stig Nordhagen): 47. Going a-wooing
  16. 100 Folk-tunes from Hardanger, Op. 151: Suite No. 4, "Wedding Suite" (arr. Stig Nordhagen): 52. Tears and laughter for a boat
  17. 100 Folk-tunes from Hardanger, Op. 151: Suite No. 4, "Wedding Suite" (arr. Stig Nordhagen): 60. Hardanger ale
  18. 100 Folk-tunes from Hardanger, Op. 151: Suite No. 5, "Troll tunes" (arr. Stig Nordhagen): 70. The brownie dancing
  19. 100 Folk-tunes from Hardanger, Op. 151: Suite No. 5, "Troll tunes" (arr. Stig Nordhagen): 72. Twilight
  20. 100 Folk-tunes from Hardanger, Op. 151: Suite No. 5, "Troll tunes" (arr. Stig Nordhagen): 75. Doomsday

Royal Norwegian Navy Band
Bjarte Engeset, conductor
Date: 2008
Label: Naxos
http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.572095

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Review

Thanks to ongoing series from BIS and Naxos, Geirr Tveitt (1908-1991) has emerged from the shadow of Edvard Grieg as one of Norway's finest composers. A virtuoso pianist, he honed both performance and compositional skills at the prestigious Leipzig Conservatory, but blossomed as a composer when studying in Paris with Honegger, Villa-Lobos, and Nadia Boulanger. Intensely big-hearted and emotional, his music is brooding and nostalgic and often enlivened by references to the scenery, people, and folklore of Western Norway. Tveitt absorbed many influences during extensive travels in Europe, especially the French Impressionists, Stravinsky, and Bartók, but unlike near-contemporary Fartein Valen, his style remained firmly rooted in native folk music, especially the distinctive music of his own Hardanger district. 

This single disc presents all of Tveitt's surviving scores for wind ensemble. The Sinfonia de soffiatori is a late masterpiece. Structurally simple, but tonally and psychologically complex, a characteristic conflict between pervasive gloom and wistful aspiration that animates many of his later work is presented definitively here. The central "Alla marcia" is still tinged with the folk-inspired grotesquery of Peer Gynt, but the work ends enigmatically with glowering brass, bells, and harp glissandos creating an arresting tonal and spiritual ambiguity. Tveitt called this his third symphony, which offers the hope that there are more among the damaged scores that await restoration efforts after the disastrous fire that destroyed his home and most of his life's work in 1970. The Sinfonia was, sadly, one of only a few works that he wrote after that cataclysm. 

The Prince Christian Frederik's Honor March was written earlier in 1970. It celebrates one of Norway's heroes of freedom, who served as elected king of a democratic Norway for five months in 1814, until obliged by force of arms to abdicate in favor of union with Sweden. The march is simple and forthright, with subtle undercurrents, as befits this visionary. The remaining works composed for wind ensemble were all written for a Norwegian Band Federation competition in 1962. Tveitt took first, second, and third prizes for, respectively, the Sinfonietta di soffiatori, The Old Mill on the Brook, and the Hymn of Freedom. The Hymn of Freedom is celebratory, but musically slight. The painfully nostalgic Old Mill and the moody Sinfonietta are powerful but melancholy works, reflecting again the aging Tveitt's pessimism and sense of loss. It is good, therefore, that Naxos includes transcriptions of a selection of Tveitt's earlier, exuberant 100 Folk-Tunes from Hardanger. Not only did Tveitt obviously find great joy in the modal folk melodies, but here--as in the orchestral originals--one can discover some of his most original composition. The nine miniatures, grouped in three suites, celebrate good ale, wooing a bride, downhill skiing, and the trolls of Norwegian folklore. Full of orchestral novelty and infectious rhythms, these are irresistible. 

The Old Mill and the Sinfonietta are the only works here that are currently available in a competing version, on Chandos 10038. Fine as the Royal Northern College of Music Wind Orchestra's versions are, Bjarte Engeset and his Norwegian musicians are the more idiomatic advocates. The Chandos Old Mill is disqualified, in any case, by editing which unnecessarily lightens the gloom of the original orchestration. Norwegian conductor Engeset has been a guiding force behind the uniformly excellent Naxos Tveitt edition and leads all of the orchestral releases. This is not, perhaps, the most likely starting point for exploration of this fascinating composer's work--I'd choose his glorious Fourth Piano Concerto (Naxos 8. 555761, Fanfare 26:6) for that--but this CD comes highly recommended nonetheless.

-- Ronald E. Grames [May/June 2009], FANFARE

More reviews:
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/Apr09/Tveitt_8572095.htm
http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2009/Apr09/Tveitt_8572095_BBr.htm
https://www.naxos.com/reviews/reviewslist.asp?catalogueid=8.572095&languageid=EN

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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.

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Bjarte Engeset (born 25 August 1958 in Ørsta) is a Norwegian classical conductor. He studied music at the University of Georgia, Grieg Akademiet in Norway, and Sibelius Academy in Finland. Engeset has been Music Director of Tromsø Symphony Orchestra and The Norwegian Wind Ensemble, artistic director of Northern Norway's Northern Lights Festival and the Opera Nord, and permanent guest conductor of the Flemish Radio Orchestra. Engeset has recorded several dozen CDs, for the Naxos, EMI and CPO labels. In particular, he has made many recordings of music by Scandinavian composers, such as Grieg, Sibelius and Tveitt.

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