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Halvorsen: Vol.1 (Entry March Of The Boyars/ Andante Religioso/ Mascarade)
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Entry March of the Boyars - Andante Religioso - Mascarade Suite - La Mélancolie (arr. Halvorsen) - Symphonie n°1 / Marianne Thorsen, violon - Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra - Neeme Järvi, direction
The performances throughout are top-notch and Chandos's sound is of demonstration quality --Gramophone,Aug 2010
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The music for Mascarade, a play by Ludwig Holberg, was written for a small orchestra of 15 players. As for style, Halvorsen opted to draw on forms and gestures of the period when the play was written (1724), and the result is a series of numbers and dances in a style a bit reminiscent of Grieg’s Holberg suite – it is full of invention, ingenuity, fun and good melodies (though some of the pastiche numbers aren’t exactly great music), played with zest and flair by the Bergen Philharmonic; well worth hearing. La Mélancolie is an arrangement of a piece by Ole Bull for string orchestra; nice and sentimental but forgettable.
The first symphony is in fact a late work, completed in 1923 when the composer was 60. It is rather obviously the work of a composer who refined his style in the late 19th century and then adamantly refused to compromise – the style is conservative and almost defiantly so; reminiscent of Tchaikovsky, Svendsen and perhaps the Russian silver age composer – there is a bit of Norwegian color but the style is overall relatively international. Though it is conservative, Halvorsen knew what he was doing, and the work as a whole is well constructed and contains plenty of excellent music.
I don’t think I would label any of the music here a “masterpiece” – the march comes closest, but that’s also the one work where I’m not entirely bought on the present performance. Otherwise, the Bergen players do a superb job, and one has to, once again, marvel at the versatility of Neeme Järvi. The sound is superb, and overall this is a very recommendable release.