: PIANO CONCERTO-'PEER GYNT'
Davidsen, Ann-Helen Moen,
Victoria Nava (sopranos),
Johannes Weisser (baritone),
Håkon Høgerno (Hardanger
fiddle). Jean-Efflam Bavouzet
(piano), Bergen Philharmonic
Orchestra and Choirs, cond.
Chandos CHSA 5190
This is the real
deal. Edvard Grieg's best-known
works performed in Bergen, the
city where he was born and died
(1806-75), by the orchestra he
was MD of from 1880 to 1882, and
recorded in the city's
Music to 'Peer Gynt'
a Henrik Ibsen five-act play
about the misadventures of a
rascally anti-hero from
Scandinavian folklore is
usually represented on disc by
two four-movement orchestral
suites, but here there are twice
that number with four featuring
up to five choirs, under chorus
master Håkon Matti Skrede,
including the BP Choir and Edvard
Grieg Kor. Among the solo voices
Lise Davidsen is described as
"a superb talent."
In the Hall of
the Mountain King ends as we
have probably never heard it
before with the bloodthirsty
shouts of the trolls to the fore.
On the opening three tracks we
also hear the Hardanger fiddle:
an eight or nine-string
Scandinavian folk-instrument with
a buzzy, hurdy-gurdy-like timbre.
The soloist for
the Piano Concerto is
the multi award-winning
Frenchman, Jean-Efflam Bavouzet.
His is a pleasingly fresh reading
of a much-recorded work.
Keeping a firm
control of proceedings throughout
is our own Edward Gardner, the
chief conductor of the BPO (one
of Europe's oldest) since 2015,
when he completed his ten year
tenure as MD with English
quality is Chandos exemplary and
the album's timing puts to shame
some larger labels miserly 50-odd
minutes. Booklet notes are most
Don't be surprised
if this disc gets you thinking
about visiting Norway's second
city but dont forget