RECORDING OF THE MONTH
A Musical Journey - Norway - A Musical Tour of Troldhaugen, Bergen and the
Norwegian Landscape. Music by Edvard Grieg
Chapters 1-3: Norwegian Landscape
Chapters 4-5: Troldhaugen, Grieg’s House
Chapters 7-10: Bergen
Piano Concerto in A minor. Jeno Jandó (piano) and the Budapest Symphony
Orchestra. from Naxos CD 8.550118
Two Melodies, Two Norwegian Airs and Two Elegiac Melodies
Capella Istropolitana/Adrian Leaper from Naxos CD 8.550330
Wedding Day at Troldhaugen and Norwegian Bridal Procession. Slovak
State Philharmonic Orchestra/Stephen Gunzenhauser from Naxos 8.556658.
No recording dates or venues given
DVD Director: G Gachot
Cameraman: M Bestle
Audio Format: DTS 5.1. Dolby Digital 5.1. PCM Stereo 2.0
Video Format: NTSC. Colour. 4:3 Region 0. Colour. Aspect ratio 4:3
NAXOS DVD 2.110274 [55.57]
Sometimes in this series I struggle to find a relationship of either the mood
of the music with the pictures, or even the music itself with the composer and
the country involved. The contrary is very much the case here. Grieg is above
all else a Norwegian composer and his music reflects much of the diversity of
his country. This is well illustrated by the accompaniment of the popular Piano
Concerto in A minor with the views of the landscape (CHs.1-3) in its diverse
variety of fjord, mountain, waterfall and lowland meadow with cattle. The allegro,
adagio and allegro moderato are heard with distinct effort made to match the
more tranquil pastoral scenes with the vibrancy of waterfall or river to the
musical mood and tempo.
Nothing could be more relevant than Grieg’s house with its lakeside setting
(CHs.4-5). The study where he composed is shown and the well-appointed house
with its wooden floors and tasteful but homely period furniture. These pictures
are accompanied by his Two Melodies op. 53.
Bergen, Grieg’s birthplace, capital of West Norway and built on seven
hills, is the focus of the remaining pictures. The city’s origin lies
on the coast and harbour of Puddefjord, from which, over the years, it has grown.
Traditional wooden houses are seen along with boats on the waterside (CH.6).
The music accompaniment titled Wedding Day at Troldhaugen, op. 65 No.6
was originally a piano piece and perhaps renamed to recall the occasion of the
composer’s silver wedding. It complements the brief views of Bergen’s
waterside, the fish market, and boats accompanied by Norwegian Bridal Procession
op. 19 (CH.7.)
The remaining views of Bergen include the often-idiosyncratic colourful houses
and the sun shining on the people in the park and on the river moorings. It’s
accompanied by the music of Grieg’s Two Norwegian Airs op. 63 (CH.8).
The funicular ascending the mountains, the views from atop and then some spectacular
photography of twilight by the river and moorings and the sun slowly setting
are all well caught by the music of Grieg’s Two Elegiac Melodies
op. 34 nos. 1 and 2 (CHs.9-10).
Although I yearned for some of the Peer Gynt Suite, that is merely me
being greedy. There is enough of Norway to justify another in this series.
Robert J Farr
A winner for all lovers of Grieg’s music, and his captivating country,
alongside spectacular photography.