‘Classical Norway – the 2005 Centenary’ is a grand musical project that is set to commemorate a century of independence and a century of magnificent orchestral traditions. The first release in this CD series is the aptly titled double album ‘Norwegian Heartland – The Romantic Orchestral Heritage’ featuring the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and soloists Sigurd Slåttebrekk, Isa Katharina Gericke and Arve Moen Bergset - out now on renowned Norwegian classical label Simax.
A celebration of independence
What better way to celebrate the centenary anniversary of Norwegian independence than to present the music written by the nation’s five greatest orchestral composers? The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra has selected the best – five different results of merging national and international inspiration in music. This is the heartland of Norwegian classical orchestral tradition, presented in new and sparkling performances by one of the world’s top orchestras.
Featured soloists on ‘Norwegian Heartland – The Romantic Orchestral Heritage’
are pianist Sigurd Slåttebrekk (Grieg), soprano Isa Katharina Gericke (Sæverud) and traditional folk singer/violinist Arve Moen Bergset (Tveitt). Russian conductor Michail Jurowsky commands the troops through a varied repertoire that features works by some of the last century’s most central Norwegian composers: Edvard Grieg, Johan Svendsen, Johan Halvorsen, Harald Sæverud and Geirr Tveitt.
Says pianist Sigurd Slåttebrekk to Norwegian daily Aftenposten: “It’s been a dream to record Grieg’s Concerto in a-minor with this orchestra. I hope that my rendition represents new aspects of the work compared to other recordings, if not then the whole project would have been a bit futile. At the same time it’s important not to be inventive just for the sake of doing something new - it must come from a natural source. Still, this repertoire offers plenty of space which one can explore.”
The repertoire featured on ‘Norwegian Heartland – The Romantic Orchestral Heritage’ is:
Edvard Grieg: Piano and Orchestra Concerto in a-minor
Johan Svendsen: Norwegian rhapsody no. 4, Norwegian Artists’ Carnival
Johan Halvorsen: Norwegian rhapsody no. 2, Bergensiana
Harald Sæverud: Peer Gynt-suite no. 1, Den siste Bå’nlåt, Kjempeviseslåtten
Geirr Tveitt: Excerpts from ‘A Hundred Folk Tunes From Hardanger’
‘Norwegian Heartland – The Romantic Orchestral Heritage’ is released by what is perhaps Norway’s most central classical record label; Simax. The release can be downloaded from Phonofile’s music store.
The remaining CDs in this series will be released in the autumn. One of the releases will be dedicated to violin virtuoso Ole Bull and features Arve Tellefsen with the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra. A 5 disc box set including the above discs and a double disc with ‘The 10 Great Artists 1905-2005’ will also see its release in October.
The ‘Classical Norway – the 2005 Centenary’ project is supported financially by Hundreårsmarkeringen Norge 2005 AS - the official co-ordinating body for the centennial anniversary.
Says Hundreårsmarkeringen Norge 2005 AS’s programme co-ordinator Anders Ringen: “Music was a central element of the nation-building process in 1905 – this makes it natural and important for us to contribute to this project. The Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the soloists are outstanding ambassadors that have created a lasting and magnificent product which we support wholeheartedly.”
Sigurd Slåttebrekk, Pianist
Arve Moen Bergset, Violinist, Folk singer
Edvard Grieg, Composer
Johan Svendsen, Composer
Johan Halvorsen, Composer
Harald Sæverud, Composer
Geirr Tveitt, Composer
Isa Katharina Gericke, Soprano