On this new album musician and composer Einar Mjølsnes (Hardanger fiddle) from Voss has gathered all of the 21 tunes played by Anders Sagen that have been transcribed. Mjølsnes opens and closes the album with his own compositions, which were inspired by, and hold references to, the pieces Sagen played.
There are a total of 21 fiddle tunes here, and the transcribed notes are found in Arne Bjørndal’s collection in Bergen. Nineteen of them were included in “Hardingfeleverket”.
“I discovered that there were a number of tunes as played by Anders Sagen, many of them passed down from ‘Gamlehagen’, and in a wide range of tunings.” Sagen had learned most of the tunes from Rognald Berge from Kyrkjebø in Sogn. Berge, in turn, had learned them from “Gamlehagen”. “I have the impression that Sagen preserved the tunes as he had learned them, so his playing represents the old form of fiddle tunes.”
Sagen was born in Berge in Kyrkjebø in 1829, the son of Gjøa Nilsdotter Berge (1800-1883) and Haavard Jørgenson Lokrein (1800-1848) from Valdres, who was himself a proficient fiddler. Anders was born out of wedlock, and his mother later married Lars Øvreberge (b. 1805). Anders played at their wedding.
Anders Sagen began playing the fiddle at the age of 11. His teacher was Rognald Berge (1797-1885), and he later studied with Jens Fresvik (1817-1886), also known as Jens Høgheim or “Skrangle-Jens” (“Rattling Jens”). Sagen is said to have played at around 100 weddings, so he was obviously a very sought-after fiddler. The fiddle he played most often was made by Anders Heldal (1811-1897).
Arne Bjørndal visited Sagen on several occasions, and his transcripts date from 1916 and 1917.
During his period as official musician of Hordaland County, Einar Mjølsnes had the opportunity to work with these fiddle tunes with a view to recording them, and this album is the result of several years of in-depth study of the material.
Einar Mjølsnes (b. 1952) is a very highly regarded musician and arranger/composer. He has been engaged at the Ole Bull Academy in Voss and as the official musician for Hordaland County. Among his works as a composer is a piece commissioned for the Osa Festival in 1998. He studied at Veitvet Music Conservatory and the Bergen Music Conservatory (now the Grieg Academy).
Einar Mjølsnes plays in the group Gamaltnymalt together with Sigrid Moldestad and Håkon Høgemo. The trio won a Spelemannspris (Norwegian Grammy) in 2005 in the category folk music/gammeldans for their debut album, “Gamaltnymalt”. Since 2005 he has played in the group Tørvikbygd, a folk music trio playing music from Hardanger. Einar Mjølsnes has performed at concerts in various connections, including Vossa Jazz, Telemarkfest, the Førde Traditional and Folk Music Festival, the Vestfold International Festival and the Osa Festival. He has appeared on a number of recordings and at many festivals, and has collaborated with artists such as Gabriel Fliflet, Ivar Kolve, Geir Botnen, Øystein Sunde, Kari Bremnes, Lars Klevstrand and Sondre Bratland.