Exotic and adventurous. The remarkable musical gift of Geirr Tveitt continues to surprise and delight us with ‘new’ material – 30 years after he left us. Violinist and musicologist Tor Johan Bøen has brought new things forth.
Tveitt the enigma
Few composers surrounded themselves and their work with such aura of mystique and disarray as did Geirr Tveitt (1908-1981). His opus list counts more than 250 works. The great fire at the Tveitt farm in 1970 reputedly devoured most of his musical manuscripts. Hitherto unknown copies of some of these works have surfaced over the last decades. The material for this recording has been painstakingly edited by Tor Johan Bøen, some of it based only on a radio recording.
From a travel diary – around the Mediterranean
The photo of Tveitt on the back of a dromedary connects to the theme of the main work on this release. His string quartet in eight movements is clearly influenced by stylistic traits from traditional music of Mediterranean region. The music is original and picturesque, describing titles of the movements include Via Appia, Sevilla and Starry Skies over the Sahara. In the programme notes for the premiere performance in 1960, Tveitt writes that the work was written as early as the 1930s, a statement that has been difficult to verify.
The houshold god – ballet about the conflict between the old and new
In the years just before WW2, Tveitt was extremely productive with music for two big ballets – one of them The Dreams of Baldur. In 1956 he was given a commission for a smaller ballet from the Bergen Festival, called The Household God. There was only money for a chamber ensemble and the performances took place outdoors. Tveitt excels in the use of Norwegian traditional dance forms like the halling, rull, springar and gangar in this ballet.