Though the majority of his music was lost in a fire in 1970, the resurgence of interest in the music of the Norwegian composer Geirr Tveitt has at least led to many of the surviving works being recorded at last (as well as to many works once thought lost to resurface or be reconstructed). Thus far, BIS and Naxos have done a lot for his orchestral music, and I suppose anyone not yet familiar with the composer should start there (his Hundred Folk tunes from Hardanger, or perhaps Prillar). Chamber music constituted a less central part of his output, but at least Simax has gathered together some (most?) of the surviving works on this disc. The music is, as expected, splendid; deeply variegated, colorful, atmospheric, imaginative full of good thematic ideas.
Over half of the disc is taken up by his string quartet "From a Travel Diary", a suite in eight movements written, well, it is not entirely clear when it was written, and apparently parts of it had to be restored from an old recording since the score was no longer extant. The movement offers snapshots of various locations around the Mediterranian, apparently trying to capture the mood of the particular places (though it should be noted that Tveitt had probably not visited these places at the time of composition). That said, this is not merely a light collection of pictorialism, but quite original, colorful, inventive and rhythmically vigorous, often somewhat enigmatic pieces - although the music is for once not imbued with the character and rhythms of Norwegian folk music (and the style is arguably relatively conservative) the composer's personal voice is surprisingly easily recognizable, and although the result cannot be counted as among Tveitt's most important works it is nevertheless very compelling.
The Household God is a sixteen-minute ballet for eight instruments, and is as deeply rooted in Norwegian folk music as any work he wrote. It is a remarkable score, full of inventive touches, imaginative sonorities, harmonies, atmospheres and themes; a masterpiece worth the price of the disc alone. To close the disc we get two relatively innocuous but attractive miniatures based on two of the composer's songs, the Septet and Midsummer Eve. The performances by Fragaria Vesca sound entirely idiomatic; full of life, spirit, energy and color, and the recorded sound is very good. The total timing of the disc is a stingy 49 minutes, but the contents are definitely worth the price nonetheless - only The Household God is really a masterpiece to stand alongside his greatest orchestral works, but all the music here is definitely worth investigating.