Halvorsen: Orchestral Works, Vol. 3

Halvorsen: Orchestral Works, Vol. 3 with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Neeme Järvi, Marianne Thorsen, Ragnhild Hemsing & Melina Mandozzi.

Record label: Chandos

Year: 2011


Johan Halvorsen was a prominent figure in Norway’s musical life during the first decades of the twentieth century. This latest disc in the critically acclaimed and popular Chandos series includes Symphony No. 3, described by Halvorsen as a ‘lyrical symphony’; in it one may hear overt references to Sibelius, Puccini, and Rachmaninoff. Halvorsen originally included a part for glockenspiel in the Finale but then crossed it out. The conductor, Neeme Järvi, has chosen to restore the instrument to the orchestra to recreate Halvorsen’s original idea. Fossegrimen, described as a ‘troll-play’ by its author, Sigurd Eldegard, is one the most performed dramatic works in Norway’s theatrical history. Halvorsen composed the incidental music for the first performances, in 1905, and not only conducted the orchestra but played the ‘Hardanger’ fiddle in several numbers. The Hardanger fiddle is a Norwegian folk instrument and its inclusion in the symphonic orchestra helps set up a contrast, not to say conflict, between the culture of myth and folklore and modern society. Ragnhild Hemsing, famous in Norway for her mastery of the Hardanger fiddle as well as the standard violin, joins the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in three of the movements from the Fossegrimen Suite. Marianne Thorsen is the violin soloist in the Wedding March, and there are two premiere recordings on offer as well.