About this Recording
2.110240 - MUSICAL JOURNEY (A) - NORWAY: From Gaupne to Sogndal (NTSC)
English 

A Musical Tour of Norway
With music by Edvard Grieg, Christian Sinding and Johan Svendsen

 

CHAPTER 1

Landscape, Gaupne-Sogndal
The small town of Sogndal is at the head of the Sognefjorden. The road to Gaupne passes through pine-clad hills and by the side of lakes and fjords, a pleasant place to visit in summer and affording other possibilities in the snows of winter.

Music Grieg: Holberg Suite, Op. 40 – I. Prelude: Allegro vivace
Born in 1843 in Bergen into a family of remoter Scottish paternal ancestry, Edvard Grieg came to represent the first great musical flowering of Norwegian nationalism, drawing inspiration from his own country, after earlier training in Leipzig. He coupled a career as a composer with that of a performer, continuing both activities until his death in 1907. Acclaimed as the first writer of his generation after Voltaire and as the Molière of the North, Ludwig Holberg, a near contemporary of Johann Sebastian Bach, was born in Norway but spent most of his life in Denmark. A leading representative of the Scandinavian Enlightenment, he wrote comedies and satires influenced by the French. Grieg’s From Holberg’s Time: Suite in the Olden Style was commissioned to mark the centenary of Holberg’s birth. In five movements, originally for piano, it was arranged by the composer for string orchestra, the form in which it is now most familiar. Grieg here takes the form of the Baroque suite, with its traditional French dance movements, re-interpreted through the neoclassical prism of his own time.

CHAPTER 2

Landscape, Gaupne-Sogndal
The river waters flow fast, with rapids and eddies, past Gaupne to the Lustrafjorden.

Music Grieg: Holberg Suite, Op. 40 – II. Sarabande: Andante
The second movement of the Holberg Suite is a version of the triple time dance, the stately Sarabande, transformed by Grieg into something very much his own.

CHAPTER 3

Farm, Sandbu
The traditional farms, with their wooden dwellings and outhouses, lie in land cleared in the 18th century, its ownership the subject of prolonged dispute.

Music Grieg: Holberg Suite, Op. 40 – III. Gavotte: Allegretto
The third movement of the Holberg Suite is in the form of a Gavotte, framing a contrasting Musette, a dance imitating the bagpipe, with its drone bass.

CHAPTER 4

Garmo Stave Church, Maihaugen • Lillehammer Church Lom Stave Church, Gudbrandsdal
Maihaugen has been preserved as an open-air museum, with farms and other buildings to be seen there. These include the Garmo Stave Church, with its interesting interior decoration. The original medieval building was demolished, but parts of the structure were saved, allowing it eventually to be rebuilt at Maihaugen as part of the museum founded by Anders Sandvig in 1887. Lillehammer Church was inaugurated in 1882 and restored in 1959 and Lom Stave Church dates from the 12th century.

Music Grieg: Holberg Suite, Op. 40 – IV. Air: Andante religoso
The Air from Grieg’s Holberg Suite provides an apt accompaniment to the wooden stave churches of Norway.

CHAPTER 5

Sandbu
Characteristic of Norway are the wooden cottages, their roofs covered with turf, and reflecting the plentiful supply of wood in the forested areas of the the country and the skill of Norwegian craftsmen. The interior of the house shown reveals an unexpected display of wealth in the mural decorations and the furniture.

Music Grieg: Holberg Suite, Op. 40 – V. Rigaudon: Allegro con brio
The Holberg Suite ends with a lively Rigaudon, a demanding movement for a solo violin and solo viola, relaxing in the trio section that the dance frames.

CHAPTER 6

Bergen
Bergen, Grieg’s home-town, is the capital of West Norway and is built on seven hills. Its origin lies in its coast and harbour on the Puddefjord, from which, over the years, it has grown.

Music Christian Sinding: Rustle of Spring, Op. 32, No. 3 (arr. Hans Sitt)
In his time second only to Grieg as a Norwegian composer, Christian Sinding’s wider reputation has rested largely on his popular piano piece, The Rustle of Spring, a vehicle for many an ambitious amateur player. Its orchestrated version is less well-known, but equally effective.

CHAPTER 7

Hundefossen, Troll Park
The trolls of Norwegian fable have a bad reputation, living among the rocks and causing trouble to humans. Hundefossen, near Lillehammer, has a large representation of a troll and scenes filled with the creatures.

Music Grieg: Norwegian Dances, Op. 35 – No. 1: Allegro marcato
Grieg’s Norwegian Dances were written in 1881 for piano duet and later arranged for solo piano. They were subsequently orchestrated by the violinist of the Brodsky Quartet, Hans Sitt. The first of the four dances is based on the melody Sinclair’s March from the mountainous region of Vågå in northern central Norway.

CHAPTER 8

Hundefossen, Troll Park
The creatures in the Troll Park include a variety of animals, reflecting local legends.

Music Grieg: Norwegian Dances, Op. 35 – No. 2: Allegretto tranquillo e grazioso
The second Norwegian Dance is a halling, as played by Arne Thingstad from Åmot in the Øster Valley of eastern Norway, near the Swedish border.

CHAPTER 9

Hundefossen, Troll Park
Together with trolls are figures of a fairy-tale king and queen and a beautiful princess, in the Hundefossen Troll Park.

Music Grieg: Norwegian Dances, Op. 35 – No. 3: Allegro moderato alla marcia
Grieg again makes use of a halling for the third of his Norwegian Dances

CHAPTER 10

Hundefossen, Troll Park
Troll Park also offers scenes drawn from other Norwegian folk-tales, giants, blacksmiths and brave boys.

Music Grieg: Norwegian Dances, Op. 35 – No. 4: Allegretto molto
The fourth Norwegian Dance, also a halling, opens with an introduction newly composed by Grieg and aptly developed.

CHAPTER 11

Ålesund
The port of Ålesund was largely destroyed by fire in 1904. With the help of Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany, who often took summer holidays in the region, the town was rebuilt with less flammable brick and stone. The result is a remarkable example of the Jugendstil of architecture of the period.

Music Svendsen: Norwegian Artists’ Carnival, Op. 14
Like his father, Johan Svendsen became an army musician, serving as a clarinettist, before embarking on a career as an orchestral violinist. As did Grieg, he subsequently studied in Leipzig, where he made a name for himself as a conductor and composer. Svendsen was also a colleague of Grieg in the direction of concerts in Christiania (the modern Oslo). He later served as conductor at the Royal Opera in Copenhagen. His Norwegian Artists’ Carnival dates from about 1874 and depicts the carnival of the title in Rome, represented by an Italian folksong, followed by music of Norway.

CHAPTER 12

Maihaugen, Lillehammer
The extensive Maihaugen Open Air Museum at Lillehammer, with its many traditional buildings brought together by Anders Sandvig from the Gudbrandsdal valley, is set in a magic landscape, seen here in the half-light.

Music Grieg: Erotikon, Op. 43, No. 5
Erotikon was originally a piano piece, one of Grieg’s Lyric Pieces, this one written for his wife, Nina.


Keith Anderson


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