Åshild and Ingfrid Breie Nyhus´ latest release takes place at the cross roads between Norwegian folk music and art music. With the Hardanger fiddle at the center of attention, they rekindle history in a modern context, and manages to conjure up powerful nature images and moods from the deepest reaches of Norwegian folklore.
The mythical Hardanger fiddle was not just a musical instrument, but also functioned as a direct contact with the underworld of Norwegian folklore. Halvorsen’s ‘Fossegrimen’ is built on the myth around the fiddler Myllarguten, said to have been taught by the Grim himself, and paying for it with his soul. Drawing on her experience of interpreting Norwegian folk music on the piano for many years, Ingfrid has arranged Halvorsen’s famous suite (being published now by edition Musikk-Huset) – a bold project we can hear the highly successful result of on this album.
Modern musical idioms
Sven Nyhus has on several occasions put down a wide engagement for the Hardanger fiddle’s place in the art musical world. His ‘Three pieces for solo Hardanger fiddle’ was first and foremost a contribution to increase the awareness of the instrument in a concert setting. Equally important is Johan Kvandal’s contribution, his ‘Quintet for Hardanger fiddle and string quartet’, commissioned by the Arctic Arts Festival, which was received to great acclaim.
Åshild Breie Nyhus (b. 1975) is a fourth generation fiddler in her family at Røros, performing as a soloist on the Hardanger fiddle with several Scandinavian symphony orchestras. Her performances of the Norwegian folk musical heritage is combined with her practice as a classical violinist and violist – in Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra. Ingfrid Breie Nyhus (b. 1978) has studied piano in Oslo, Helsinki and Hannover, won a range of awards – amongst them ‘The Norwegian Soloists Prize’ in 2005 – and is now preoccupied with a further specialization of
folk-inspired music. This is the second release of the Nyhus sisters for Simax Classics, following their hugely successful Edvard Grieg: Slåtter op. 72, recorded in the composer’s own livingroom.