Reviving the name of piano virtuoso and composer Thomas Tellefsen, Einar Steen-Nøkleberg follows his recent acclaimed recording of the chamber music here with two splendid piano concertos. Tellefsen, being the colleague of Chopin in Paris, wrote music in the great romantic tradition, and Nøkleberg is just the man to make these notes into the most beautiful music.
Concerto no. 1 – with a bridal march from Sogn/Norway
There are many details pointing to the fact that the first piano concerto was completed under the supervision of Tellefsen close friend and colleague Chopin. Tellefsen’s strong melodies are perhaps the most fascinating in this highly virtuoso concerto. The second movement can be described as a Nocturne, and in the finale the composer utilizes a theme from the collection of L.M. Lindeman. This is to our knowledge the first instance of Norwegian folk music being integrated into a musical structure in art music.
No. 2 – the composer’s own favourite
The second concerto was written in 1853, and actually premiered in the composer’s birth city of Trondheim two years later. This piece was popular throughout Tellefsen’s own lifetime, and was also on the repertoire of Norwegian pianists as late as in the 1930s. With a parallel to Chopin’s concertos, Tellefsen also uses a dance theme in the final movement in this concerto – but this time a tarantella!
Time to make room for more than Grieg
Einar Steen-Nøkleberg was the one who in 1972 picked up the first concerto again, and in 1975 he performed the second concerto as a part of the Forgotten Masters series in London. Together with Trondheim Symphony Orchestra and Terje Mikkelsen, renown in later years for his rediscovery of Johan Halvorsen’s marvellous orchestral music, Nøkleberg has at last made it possible for us to enjoy these forgotten masterworks.