Klassekampen Review PEER GYNT

A great review from Klassekampen written by Magnus Andersson about my album PEER GYNT.


Another great review from the Norwegian Newspaper Klassekampen written by Magnus Andersson about my album PEER GYNT.
Here is the link to the article in Norwegian: https://klassekampen.no/utgave/2022-02-28/grieg-som-ny-igjen
And here is the English translation: 
„Almost 150 years later, it is apparently possible to play Grieg's iconic "Morning Mood" in such a radically different way that one hears the work anew. Ragnhild Hemsing begins to strike the resonance strings of the Hardanger fiddle, the ones that lie under the "real" strings, which are not really meant to be played on, but are what give the instrument its distinctive sound. The resonating strings are tuned like the notes in the melody "Morgenstimmung", and given Grieg's interest in folk music, this is no coincidence. When Hemsing picks up the bow, she begins to play with the notes, searching for a melody. With ornaments, trills, transitions between notes and beautiful double stops - as if we are hearing Grieg's classic take shape, as if it is being composed before our eyes. When I hear melodic thinking on this level, Grieg's well-known folk melodies (original or self-composed) seem poor. It is therefore relevant to ask whether Grieg may have wished his music to really sound like this, and how satisfied he was with the simplifications in notation that were necessary at the end of the 19th century to make folk music playable for classically trained musicians.
In contrast to Hemsing's folk-music shaped melodies in "Morgenstemning", the entire ensemble gradually begins with a horizontal chord in the classical manner. The clash of the sound worlds of classical and folk music creates unusual but gripping colours. It sounds like a given that Edvard Grieg must have thought of his music in this way. In any case, I think this is a much better Grieg than we know from the way the movement is usually played by all sorts of orchestras of all sizes.
The recording by Ragnhild Hemsing and the Trondheim Soloists deals with twelve of the most famous pieces Grieg wrote for Henrik Ibsen's "Peer Gynt" in 1874 and 1875. The pieces were originally written as incidental music at the request of the playwright himself, but eight of the pieces, from the "Peer Gynt Suites I and II" (1888 and 1893), have become best known. Here is the music as arranged by Tormod Tvete Vik for solo violin/hardanger fiddle and string orchestra.
In "Solveig's Song" the Harding fiddle is replaced by a classical violin. And although you can hear this movement with the beautiful carvings of folk music, Hemsing perfects a musical virtue that is absolutely central: namely, making the instrument singable, like a human voice. It is declamatory and gets everything out of every interval, as if the leaps themselves were a text that speaks directly to the emotions.
"Halling", "Springar" and "The bridal party pass by" resonate with Hemsing's Hardanger fiddle in a way that music has rarely done before. "Åse's death" becomes another complex melodic movement with an added introduction, and "Solveig's lullaby" becomes a sublime sound bath where the classical violin sings with long lines all to itself.
If the Hardanger fiddle can take such a natural place in Grieg's music, the basic understanding of the influence of folk music on classical music should be shaken to its foundations. Yet Grieg was not a folk music composer, but a classical one - and there need be no argument that the Trondheim soloists will also play in Hemsing's folk music world. With a rich palette of sounds, ranging from subtle tones to swollen and dramatic ones, they defend the classical tradition in which we are used to hearing the works.
And standing between soloist and ensemble is Vik, who bridges the folk music and classical worlds in a compelling project."