Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger:

Gierr TVEITT (1908-81)
Piano Concerto No. 1, op. 1 (1927)
Piano Concerto No. 5, op. 156 (1954)

Håvard Gimse, piano
Royal Scottish National Orchestra conducted Bjarte Engeset
Recorded Henry Wood all, Glasgow, April 2000
NAXOS 8.555077 [52.10]
Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS  Amazon recommendations

Tveitt was Norwegian to the core and spent much of his life studying Norwegian folk-tunes which formed the basis for much of his music. Fate dealt him a terrible blow when in 1970 his (wooden) house in West Norway burnt down and destroyed 80% of his musical output. Despite this tragedy he continued to compose for his last eleven years. Recent years have seen a growth in interest in Tveitt's music and the published work is gradually appearing on disc; also various scores continue to be discovered. Tveitt was a constant reviser of his music and even published works were subsequently altered at performance.

The music is rhythmically lively and attractive with tunes which stick in your mind. Tveitt was a brilliant pianist and supported his family by playing in concerts (particularly in France) where he played the standard repertoire as well as his own works. His skills of orchestration were also considerable and the piano concertos (of which four out of six survive) are particularly fine.

Although a student work, the first piano concerto sounds very mature. It is very compact which begins with a rhapsodic first movement which is based upon a haunting theme which starts the work. The central movement is a scherzo-like piece based on a folk-like tune and is clearly influenced by Grieg. The concluding movement seems almost like a continuation of the opening movement, a moving horn theme is highly decorated on the piano, rises to a magnificent climax before fading away.

The Fifth Concerto is a more complex work which is also considerably longer. This recording, although based primarily on the published score, incorporates amendments from tapes of performances of the composer. Like the first concerto it has strong folk-dance rhythms but also a suggestion of Holst's "The Planets". The piano effects throughout are comparable to those in Prokofiev's concertos, but also with a hint of Rachmaninov. The episodic outer movements are in great contrast to the central slow movement which is a restrained picture of high pastures and the legendary bellsong which lures humans into the mountains.

This is a very interesting and rewarding recording which is very well played by Gimse and the Scottish Orchestra admirably conducted by Bjarte Engeset. The recording is very clear. The sleeve shows a view over the Hardanger Fjord which was so loved by the Composer. There are excellent notes by David Gallagher. All this at super-budget price!


Arthur Baker.

Return to Index

Reviews from previous months
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board.  Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.This is the only part of MusicWeb for which you will have to register.

You can purchase CDs, tickets and musician's accessories and Save around 22% with these retailers: