Christian SINDING (1856-1941)
Music for Violin and Piano - Volume 1
Cantus doloris Op.78 [9:42]
Elegy in B flat major Op.106 No.1 [2:54]
Romance in D major Op.79 No.2 [6:01]
Albumblatt Op.81 No.2 [3:16]
Alte Weise Op.89 No.2 [3:14]
Standchen Op.89 No.1 [2:25]
Suite im alten Stil Op.10 [13:06]
Andate religioso Op.106 No.3 [4:23]
Waltz in G major Op.59 No.3 arranged Willy Burmester edited Kraggerud and Hadland; first version [1:44]
Waltz in E minor Op.59 No.4 arranged E Alnæs [2:04]
Waltz in G major Op.59 No.3 arranged Willy Burmester edited Kraggerud and Hadland; second version [1:45]
Air Op.81 No.1 [4:05]
Berceuse Op.106 No.2 [2:40]
Henning Kraggerud (violin)
Christian Ihle Hadland (piano)
rec. November 2006, Old Fredrikstad Church, Fredrikstad, Norway
NAXOS 8.572254 [57:18]

Mention Sinding to violin players and they’ll retort; ‘Suite im alten Stil’. This is a work that still courts a degree of popularity especially when the rapier and willow is wielded by someone like Heifetz, whose famed recording has exerted so vortex-like a pull on the discography. But Sinding was a master-charmer whose ingratiating piano music - The Rustle of Spring, amongst others - had a counterpart in works written for violin and piano. This first volume includes the ballast of Suite im alten Stil, and includes some salon sweetmeats to keep it company. Quality varies, as is perhaps inevitable.

Cantus doloris was published in 1906 and opens with touchingly tolling bells. It’s a passacaglia and variations. But it also takes in extroversion and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Sinding hadn’t lent an ear to near-neighbour Halvorsen and his extrapolations of Handel suites. It sounds in places not unlike the ‘Handel-Halvorsen’ Passacaglia (from the seventh keyboard suite) which Halvorsen wrote in 1897. The Elegy is full of wistful charm whilst the Romance is warmly textured, and subtly variegated in tonal response by the excellent Henning Kraggerud whose sweetly lyric playing is richly apt.

Alte Weise is a warm folk song - rapt and subtle, and with fine ensemble between Kraggerud and pianist Christian Ihle Hadland. The Andante religioso is rather deliciously sentimental; note too the delicate layering of dynamics from Kraggerud. There are also waltzes - a touch generic really - and they include two versions of Op.59 No.3 - though there’s little audible difference. The Berceuse, with which the disc ends, is another charmer.

As for the Suite im alten Stil, this performance stands at a slight tangent from the more high pressured recordings of Heifetz and, for example, Perlman. For them it’s more of a showcase but for Kraggerud and Hadland it’s a touch more intimate and reflective. There’s an introspective Adagio and in the finale we can hear some of the Tartini-isms nicely distributed, but not overdone.

With some sympathetic and well judged performances there is no danger of stylistic mismatches. Things have been well judged, as has the recording. I would have liked to have had the dates of composition, where known, but with a mostly salon programme that’s not such a large demerit.

Jonathan Woolf