The violinist Jonas Båtstrand and the pianist Helge Kjekshus present premiere recordings of works for violin by Johan Halvorsen, Christian Sinding and Ludvig Irgens-Jensen from the golden age of Norwegian musical life.
A Norwegian tradition for violin music
During this time there was a growing need for new music for the instruments and the composers contributed both simple pieces, arrangements of well-known music and more voluminous music. In Norway it is of course particularly Edvard Grieg’s three violin sonatas that has survived on the modern-day repertoire. But there is also considerable amounts other good music for violin that should be brought to light, such as the three pieces on this recording.
Halvorsen, Sinding & Irgens-Jensen
Halvorsen’s ‘Capriccio’ is a challenging piece musically speaking, including virtuoso violin parts and folk musical influences. Sinding wanted to write large-scale symphonies and solo concertos, but his legacy has survived mainly as a composer of chamber music and songs. His ‘Suite for Violin Solo’ obviously has J. S. Bach’s partitas and solo sonatas as role models, but in outer framework only: content, melodic creation and harmony are Sinding’s own. Irgens-Jensen is today associated with large-scale orchestral music, while his chamber music is more modest in numbers. The ‘Violin Sonata’ is stylistically slightly different than his grand, modern orchestral works, where it displays influences from Grieg, Brahms, Saint-Saëns and Reger. Irgens-Jensen was consistently critical of his own work, and the sonata was left on the shelf until after his death when the pianist Eva Knardahl and the violinist Ørnulf Boye Hansen brought it back to life.
Jonas Båtstrand & Helge Kjekshus
Jonas Båtstrand has selected lesser known Norwegian works for this recording. He is the artistic leader of the Christiania Ensemble, performing unknown works from the golden age of Norwegian music history. They have amongst others performed Sinding’s and Borgstrøm’s piano quintets with the pianist Christian Ihle Hadland, and in 2010 Båtstrand released his debut CD with premier recordings of Hjalmar Borgstrøm’s Violin Concerto on Simax Classics – to great critical acclaim. Båtstrand has his background at the Norwegian Academy of Music and has studied with Zakhar Bron, Camilla Wicks and Miguel Negri in Germany, USA and Italy. He has played for masters such as Ruggiero Ricci and Yehudi Menuhin and won several awards throughout his career. Helge Kjekshus is in the front row of Norwegian soloists, has played with leading Scandinavian, as well as European and American, orchestra and performes as soloist worldwide. He received the prestigious Grieg Award in 1998.