This is the third volume in BIS’s ongoing series of music by the Norwegian Harald Saeverud. Unlike his predecessor Grieg, who was most successful as a miniaturist, Saeverud took to the big orchestral forms from the start. His Third Symphony is only his Op. 5, though it seems to have taken a number of years to emerge as he wanted it; material goes back to 1916, but it was not premiered until 1932. Even so, he always planned to revise it further, and that task has now been undertaken after the composer’s death by his protégé Robert Rønnes.
The lyrical Violin Concerto was written in 1956 to an American commission. With shades of Nielsen and Prokofiev it is an attractive work, ably performed here by the composer’s grandson Trond Saeverud.
Of all the works recorded in this series so far, the symphony has made the deepest impression. It is an immensely strong work, virile and forthright in its argument, memorably orchestrated and thematically imaginative. It would be hard to imagine more powerful exponents than the Stavanger SO under Ole Kristian Ruud, creating more fire than the same orchestra’s partnership with its music director Alexander Dmitriev in Vol. 2. Matthew Rye