Grieg,Tveitt, Johansen, Valen & Saeverud

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COMPOSERS: Grieg,Johansen,Tveitt,Valen & Saeverud
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The Long Long Winter Night
WORKS: Norwegian Folk Songs, Op. 66; Slåtter, Op. 72
PERFORMER: Leif Ove Andsnes (piano)
So great was Grieg’s reputation as a composer that he became a national figure in his native Norway and was granted a life annuity by the government. In his later years he was sought after to such an extent that the gate of his villa, Troldhaugen, near Bergen, bore a notice regretting that he could not receive visitors before 4am. But this disc puts paid to the notion that he was the only reckonable Norwegian composer. Indeed others, notably Valen and Saeverud, here betray a more powerful identity – though Fauré described Grieg’s music as ‘fine, strange, always individual’, and even these brief folksong arrangements are stylishly done. Tveitt’s versions of folk tunes from Hardanger display variously a Bartókian percussiveness (track 11) and an attractive melodic angularity (track 14). Johansen’s original programmatic suite is improvisatory in effect, with more than a nod at impressionism, while Valen’s Variations, based on a 12-note row, convey real power and substance. Saeverud’s personality is equally strong with punchy sforzandi and relentless drive (track 22). Andsnes plays the programme well. Wadham Sutton