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Penguin Guide, January 2009

TVEITT: 100 Hardanger Tunes - Suites Nos. 1 and 4 8.555078
TVEITT: 100 Hardanger Tunes - Suites Nos. 2 and 5 8.555770

Tveitt’s musical outlook was steeped in the Hardanger music of western Norway. Even though almost 80 per cent of his output was destroyed in a fire, he can almost rival Milhaud. Niels Viggo Bentzon or Villa-Lobos in fecundity. The Fourth Suite of Hardanger Tunes was the first Tveitt work to be recorded on LP, way back in the 1960s, albeit in a much less complete form than it is here. Try ‘So stilt dei ror på glitre-fjord’ (How silently they row on the glittering fjord), and you will understand why Tveitt enjoyed such an enviable reputation as an orchestrator. His sound world is highly original and imaginative, and unfailingly inventive. Each of these suites comprises fifteen numbers, which some way fond too much of a good thing, and there is something to be said for making one’s own shorter compilations. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra play with evident enthusiasm for Bjarte Engeset, who was collated the various different sources in preparing his edition. Nearly all these pieces are delightful and many are quite captivating. The second selection is every bit as imaginative and colourful as the earlier sets. Something of a find.

Prillar refers to the Norwegian folk instrument, the Prillarhorn, and is very much in his post-Greig nationalist vein. The second movement is distinctly Gallic and the piece was actually given in Paris in 1983 by the Orchestre National under Manuel Rosentahl. Decent performances though the Stavanger strings are a bit thin and a good (if not characteristically spectacular) BIS recording.

Robert Layton
BBC Music Magazine, July 2002

"Those who invested in the earlier CD of Geirr Tveitt's Hardanger Tunes Suites need not hesitate. These are every bit as imaginative and colorful, and are as expertly played as are the earlier sets. For those who don't know him, Tveitt will be something of a find." *****Performance*****Sound.

Steve Koenig
La Folia, June 2002

They are lush, Romantic, and will appeal to many who enjoy symphonic tone poems...the orchestration is mystical, sweet and clever.

Guy Rickards
Gramophone, May 2002

"The second disc of Tveitt's colourful Hardanger Tune Suites proves just as delightful a collection as the first. The Royal Scottish Orchestra sound as if they thoroughly enjoyed themselves in this music, as well they should have. A splendid and enjoyable disc, beautifully played and recorded. Strongly recommended."

David Hurwitz

"Geirr Tveitt composed five orchestral sets of Hardanger tunes, each containing fifteen pieces. Whether or not there were in fact ever a hundred written we will never know, and the Third Suite was among the works destroyed in the terrible fire in 1970 that claimed so much of this fine artist's work. Restoring what survives has been a true labor of love, not to mention a delight to music enthusiasts. Anyone expecting from Tveitt a folksy cuteness a la Grieg is in for a shock. Though full of innate charm, these settings owe more to the ethno-musicological school of, say, Bartok and Kodaly, with the composer making no effort to minimize their often-gruff character and tangy dissonances.

Suite No. 2 consists of fifteen "mountain songs," cleverly grouped with respect to mood and contrast. Outstanding here is No. 9, "Do you hear the song in the waterfall's roar," an elemental piece of orchestration as powerful as anything by Iceland's master of nature's musical fury, Jon Leifs. There's also room for comic relief towards the end, both in "The mountain girl skiing downhill" (and falling on her butt in the process), and in the marvelous evocation of the "Jew's harp melody" on muted trombone. Suite No. 5 is, if anything, even more evocative, consisting as it does of 15 "troll tunes," suggesting subjects magical and mysterious. Contrast the very long final number, "Doomsday," with its seven pounding timpani and pealing bells, to "The crooked harp that could talk" and you'll be amazed at the range and subtlety of these wonderful little pieces.

As with Naxos' recording of Suites Nos. 1 and 4 by these same forces, the performances are marvelous. Suite No. 2 has also been released by BIS with the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra under Ruud, but this performance is every bit as good interpretively and sonically, and marginally superior technically. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra in particular benefits from richer (more numerous?) strings, and a brilliant horn section that sports a powerful tone squarely in the grand British tradition. BIS' coupling is Suite No. 1, and for the price of that single disc you can own both of Naxos'. I'm happy to have more than one view of this marvelous music, but if you're on a budget, the choice is obvious."

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