Chan 10584 Halvorsen Orch Works I

Johan Halvorsen: Orkesterverk Vol. 1

Johan Halvorsen

This disc begins a journey of discovery with Norway’s national orchestra the Bergen Philharmonic conducted by Neeme Järvi. It is the start of a major new orchestral series featuring the music of Johan Halvorsen who has been described as one of Norway’s best kept secrets. 

Halvorsen was not only a composer but also an accomplished violinist and conductor. Indeed, he was conductor of the Bergen Philharmonic between 1885 and 1886 and was one of the most important Norwegian composers after Grieg. His music follows the national romantic tradition with a distinctive style and brilliant orchestrations.

The series kicks off with the rarely recorded ‘Symphony No.1’, coupled with the ‘Entry March of the Boyars’ which is frequently included in concert programmes, together with ‘Andante Religioso’, ‘Mascarade Suite’ and ‘La Mélancholie’. The Bergen Philharmonic will embark upon a UK tour in March this year.

Neeme Jarvi conducts the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra in the launch of a revealing orchestral series; the works of Johan Halvorsen. Volume one of this four volume series, features a mixture of well-known works with rarely recorded repertoire. The Entry March of the Boyars is recurrently in the concert repertoire and is programmed with the only available recordings of Andante Religioso, Mascarade Suite and La Melancholie, along with the rarely recorded Symphony No.1.

Halvorsen’s music is one of the best kept secrets of Norway; he was not only an accomplished violinist and conductor, (he was in fact conductor of Bergen Philharmonic in 1885-1886) he was also among the most prominent Norwegian composers in the generation following Edvard Grieg. His compositions develop the national Romantic tradition of his friends Grieg and Svendsen, but his was a distinctive style marked by brilliant orchestration inspired by the French Romantic composers.

This extremely attractive music makes a welcome addition to the catalogue and reflects particular Bergen Philharmonic strengths, the warm tonal richness of the orchestra’s strings, and individual excellence of its principal players among them.

The Bergen Philharmonic made its BBC Proms debut in 2007. Critical plaudits and public acclaim underlined the quality of an ensemble with long roots and a bright future.

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