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David Barker
MusicWeb International, December 2012

An imaginative selection that avoids the usual suspects, expertly played with just the right sense of playfulness and feeling. The music may not demand too much of you, but it will make you smile, and in these troubled times, that is a pretty good outcome. © 2012 MusicWeb International

Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, November 2012

It is a pleasure to discover [these works] especially given the unaffected warmth of Henning Kraggerud’s playing, ably supported by Bjarte Engeset and the Swedish orchestra…

Olsen’s Six Old Village Songs average just over a minute each. The melodies are simple yet eloquent, and the composer’s string settings do not get in their way. Bull’s Memories of Havana is a special case, as it was inspired by his successful trip to Cuba in 1844. All that has survived of this work were the orchestral parts, so Kraggerud created a convincingly and moderately showy variation-based solo part around these. Halvorsen’s unaffected, charming Norwegian Dance No. 3 moves from the mountains into a nearby village’s assembly hall.

The Six Humoresques reflect Sibelius’s experience as a violinist himself, as well as his years on the European mainland. This is music that knows the salon, but that nonetheless bears a tough and sophisticated Sibelian twist. Sinding’s Evening Mood brings this CD to a close with winning lyrical effusiveness. That’s not surprising; Sinding’s Suite for Violin and Orchestra is terrific as well…

Kraggerud is a major talent, with a rich, beautiful sound, and he deserves to be more widely known. Any violin fancier should enjoy this CD very much. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

Göran Forsling
MusicWeb International, September 2012

I can’t imagine the music on this disc being better played. Henning Kraggerud is no doubt one of the foremost violinists in the world today. He is eminently well accompanied by Dalasinfoniettan under its then chief conductor Bjarte Engeset. The recording quality is excellent and the liner notes by Harald Herresthal are illuminating. A must for every lover of romantic violin music. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

WRUV Reviews, September 2012

A collection of some very pleasant violin + ensemble pieces of some of the 20th century Nordic composers. Romantic and elegant. Includes works by Bull, Halvorsen, Sibelius and Sinding amongst others. © 2012 WRUV Reviews

David A. McConnell
MusicWeb International, August 2012

This fabulous recording features lesser known violin repertoire, played with a keen advocacy by soloist Henning Kraggerud and Dalasinfoniettan. Anyone with a love of Holst and Vaughan Williams, Grieg and J.P.E. Hartmann will positively revel in this repertoire.

The CD opens with six modestly arranged Norwegian folksongs by Carl Olsen. The first movement begins with violin alone, played here with great sensitivity and refinement. Olsen ensure that even when the orchestra enters, the melody always stands out, keeping the harmonic writing fairly simple so that it compliments, rather than competes, with the melody. Throughout these songs, Kraggerud’s sound is burnished and rich, varying his vibrato to give greater shape and ardor to his phrasing, while the orchestra led by Bjarte Engeset, prove to be equally sensitive partners.

Atterberg’s Suite No. 3 was originally intended for a violin and viola soloist; this arrangement, for two violins, is its premiere recording. Both solo parts are played by Kraggerud…the playing is stunningly beautiful…

The Two Sentimental Romances very much reminded me of Vaughan Williams, in both their use of modes and constantly shifting textures. The first Romance, in A Major, is bright and inviting, a perfect evocation of a beautiful summer day, while the second F-minor Romance, marked Allegro patetico, brings greater intensity and a return to that forlorn atmosphere that many Nordic composers easily inhabit.

Ole Bull was considered the “Nordic Paganini”, well known not only for his great virtuosity but also his improvisational abilities…performed with plenty of fire and beauty, without ever becoming over sentimentalized.

The final selections feature the music by the better known composers, Halvorsen, Sibelius and Sinding. Halvorsen’s Norwegian Dance No. 3, as the title suggests, is predominantly light-hearted and joyful in its outer sections, though the middle section features gentler, less rhythmic music that features a long-breathed, arching melody. Sibelius’s Six Humoresques express what the composer called “the sadness of living a life that was only occasionally illuminated by the sun”. These are performances of great sophistication and delicate beauty, more affecting that the rather heavy-handed treatment they receive in the Mutter/Staatskappelle/Previn 1996 DG recording.

Evening Mood clearly shows the influence of Sinding’s four years of study in Leipzig, featuring warmth of color that gently dispels the somewhat despondent mood of the previous Sibelius set, making for a satisfying hour plus of gorgeous music-making.

The recording itself is truly excellent, the soloist well integrated into the sound-picture. The engineers have fully captured the room’s warm ambience without any loss of clarity and there is a good front to back perspective. I look forward to more recordings from these performers. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2012

Music largely drawn from Nordic composers writing between 1910 and 1930. It was a period when they were adding to the wealth of violin music available, though only Sibelius’s Six Humoresques has become common currency on the international stage. Here the young Norwegian violinist, Henning Kraggerud, makes out a very persuasive case for a whole generation that followed on the father of violin music in Norway, Ole Bull, whose Los Recuerdos de la Habana and A Mountain Vision are also included in his programme. Maybe there is nothing profound in the twenty-one tracks, for this is music simply for your pleasure. There is a world premiere recording with Kurt Atterberg’s three-movement Suite No. 3, and I do not recall ever having heard on disc Carl Olsen’s charming Six Old Villiage Songs from Lom in Norway. Of the Sibelius, this is a top recommendation, supplanting by long favoured old LP from Aaron Rosand. Christian Sinding’s Evening Mood is a piece of sheer rapture, and I much commend to you Johan Halvorsen’s sprightly Third Norwegian Dance. Playing a quite fabulous Guarneri violin of 1744, Kraggerud charms the ear with the most smooth and gorgeous tonal quality, though when needed both he and the instrument can produce the technical fireworks. The provincial Swedish chamber orchestra, Dalasinfoniettan will be a major discovery for many, their chief conductor, Bjarte Engeset, obtaining refined playing and I very much hope we hear more on disc from the ensemble. A disc of pure pleasure. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

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