Very strong works for organ on this release from four most interesting Norwegian composers. Nystedt and Nordheim of course well known to an international audience, but also Hovland and Baden have captivating writing for the organ. Professor Harald Herresthal has collected his finest recordings over the years for this new release – which marks his 70th birthday January 2014.
Knut Nystedt (b.1915) has written orchestral and symphonic works, concertos, chamber music, and church music for choir and organ. In the years after the war, his choral works and his role as a long-standing conductor of the Norwegian Soloists Choir were of crucial significance for the development of Norwegian choral music. Conrad Baden (1908-89) was an organist, music critic and teacher of music theory at the Music Conservatory in Oslo. In the 1950s his orchestral works, chamber music and many of his organ pieces acquired a more neoclassical, free-tonal musical language. Egil Hovland (1924-2012) was one of Norway’s most prolific composers. His opus list includes chamber music, church music, concertos, cantatas, opera and ballet music. Hovland is best known for his sacred works: hymns, organ and choir works and liturgical music. Arne Nordheim (1931-2010) was one of the pioneers of electro-acoustic music in Norway. Inspired by Karl Heinz Stockhausen’s Kontakte, Nordheim wrote several variations on the work Response.
It is major works within the Norwegian organ literature that has earned its place on this release. Herresthal has worked closely with all the composers, and several of the works are dedicated to him. As an organist he has been an inspiration for Norwegian composers for more than 40 years, and he has performed works in concerts both at home and abroad.
Harald Herresthal (b.1944)
Professor of Church Music at the Norwegian Academy of Music and chairman of the Arne Nordheim Centre at the same place. As an organist, teacher, music reviewer and academic author, Herresthal has, since the 1970s, played an active role in Norwegian musical life. He has published a long series of books on music with European and American publishers. Herresthal was awarded the Lindeman Prize 2001, and appointed a Honorary Doctorate at the Universität der Kunste, Berlin in 2003.