Klaus Egge (1906-1979) is one of the Norwegian composers most performed both in his home country and abroad. On this recording the pianist Einar Henning Smebye and violinist Tor Johan Bøen have selected chamber works from his long career. One of them, the Duo Concertante for violin and viola, is receiving its world premiere recording. The disc also includes the Violin Sonata, and the Piano Trio. Viola player Bénédicte Royer and cellist Johannes Martens complete the quartet of musicians.
Klaus Egge's musical output is generally divided into three periods, and the pieces on this release are representative of each of these. Although he is known as a leading post-war composer of orchestral music with several major works to his name, among them five symphonies, three piano concertos, a violin concerto and a cello concerto, chamber works also play an important part in his output. He wrote several pieces for smaller groups, including a string quartet, a piano trio, two wind quintets, a violin sonata and a number of piano works.
The Violin Sonata from 1932 is one of Egge's early works, and clearly displays inspiration from folk music, especially from the composer's home region of Telemark. The Piano Trio followed nine years later and is one of his most frequently performed pieces. The highly virtuosic and expressive Duo Concertante for violin and viola, heard here receiving in its world premiere recording, was written between 1945 and 1951 and has received far less attention. Although it has its roots in folk music, it was written in a more European musical language adopting a freer approach to tonality.
Personnel: Einar Henning Smebye (piano), Tor Johan Bøen (violin), Bénédicte Royer (viola), Johannes Martens (cello)