KLAUS EGGE: Piano Concerto No. 2; Piano Sonata No. 1 (The Dream Ballad); Halling Fantasy; Short Piano Pieces by GRIEG, BERGH, HURUM & TVEITT – Havard Gimse, piano/(in Concerto:) Trondheim Soloists/Øyvind Gimse – Naxos

by | Jul 9, 2007 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

KLAUS EGGE: Piano Concerto No. 2; Piano Sonata No. 1 (The Dream Ballad); Halling Fantasy; Short Piano Pieces by GRIEG, BERGH, HURUM & TVEITT – Havard Gimse, piano/(in Concerto:) Trondheim Soloists/Øyvind Gimse – Naxos 8.557834, 57:15 ****:

An interesting collection of Norwegian piano music of the 20th century, with a focus on its assimilation of folk music. The solo piano works are broken up by the 20-minute concerto for piano and string orchestra, whose subtitle is “Symphonic Variations and Fugue on a Norwegian Folktune.”  Egge, who lived until 1979, was influenced in his later incorporation of folk music into his compositions by his family knowing many local folk-fiddlers. The main folk theme of the concerto was also set by Grieg, Tveitt and others. It is a haunting mountain melody translated as Sun-Fair and the Snake-King.  The concerto is in one movement but with four pseudo-sections within it corresponding to a four-movement concerto.  The Piano Sonata is in four actual movements and two minutes longer. It is based on a famous Norwegian song with 52 verses in the style of a medieval ballad.

The remainder of the program continues the theme of the response of Norwegian piano music to the fertile folk music culture of Norway.  A two-minute piece by Grieg opens the CD since it is a different arrangement of the same melody used in the Egge Piano Concerto. A short fantasy by Egge and two other short works illustrate the influence of Norwegian folk-fiddling. The closing selection is a 1963 folk-flavored piece, Wedding Bells, just discovered in the opera of Geirr Tveitt.

 – John Sunier

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