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Sigurd LIE (1871Ė1904)
Symphony in A minor (1898-1903) [30:36]
Concerto Piece for violin and orchestra (1898) [8:26]
Wartburg - ballade for bass-baritone and orchestra (1899) [9:02]
Terje TÝnnesen (violin)
Frode Olsen (bass-baritone)
Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra/Terje Boye Hansen
rec. Kristiansand Cathedral, June 2004. DDD
2L 27 [48:04]
Experience Classicsonline

This is quite a short-playing disc Ė rather a pity, I think. Its redemption is that it gives us the chance to hear a selection of the orchestral music of Norwegian composer Sigurd Lie. He died very young of tuberculosis with only a small part of his promise realised.

His Symphony in A minor is warmly romantic with an athletic and plunging allegro con fuoco first movement and final Allegro vivace. Think in terms of the exuberance of Elgar in Froissart (IV, 1:23) and In the South. To this you will need to read in the Schumann of the Spring Symphony and a dash of Louis Glass at his zenith.† The warmly sentimental and faintly melancholic Andante cantabile recalls Grieg of The Last Spring with the rolling contours of the Siegfried Idyll. The following Allegretto scherzando is decidedly bucolic and even boozy in the manner of Hartyís Irish Symphony but carrying shreds of Brahmsí Academic Festival. The Symphony is enthusiastically performed.

The perfervid Concert Piece dates from his Berlin years yet its accent is very definitely on Norwegian folk material; itís† based on a specific song. It has the full-lipped lyrical address of Bruch, something of the gypsy soul of Zigeunerweisen and the character of Saint-SaŽnsí unduly neglected Caprice Andalous. Itís rather a good and memorable piece from the warm-high tide of romanticism. Wartburg is a sturdy extended piece of nineteenth century patriotism redolent of Stanford in his Songs of the Sea and Songs of the Fleet mode and of Wagnerís Meistersinger. It is sung with ringing confidence and security by Frode Olsen. The underlying message affirms Norwegian kinship with the Germanic peoples. The paean of nationalism elevated to religious import turns poetic-reflective towards the end of the ballad before gathering for a militant and stirring finale complete with chattering horns.

This is a handsomely documented set. It is well worth seeking out if you have a taste for fresh nineteenth century Scandinavian romantic nationalism.

Rob Barnett


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