Review by Audiophile.no April 21, 2014 (4 of 4 found this review helpful)
|Mezzo-soprano Marianne Beate Kielland is one of Scandinavia's greatest singers, and in addition to a very rich concert career, she has a pretty formidable list of records. Before this recording of Grieg songs she has full 10 solo recordings and 22 other recordings. The repertoire is quite varied, from baroque to quite new compositions.
She has a permanent collaboration with pianist Nils Anders Mortensen , who also has a great career with many recordings. Some of these are joint projects with Marianne Beate Kielland.
On this SACD they focused on the three known sang collections of Edvard Grieg, tone setting poems by Garborg, Vinje and Ibsen. The intention has been to give his own interpretation of these most famous Griegsongs, yet they have placed great emphasis on being true to Grieg's own wishes for how the songs should be performed.
The first, and for me the most interesting is the song cycle Haugtussa of Garborg. There are many others who have later composed music for Haugtussa. I personally have a special relationship to Ketil Bjørnstad`s compositions performed by Lynni Treekrem, released on KKV. But Kenneth Sivertsen and Herborg Kråkevik has composed music for Haugtussa.
In this context, however, may Olav Anton Thommessen`s new compositions and processing of Grieg's eight songs (and some selfrejected sketches) the most interesting backdrop, performed by just Marianne Beate Kielland and Nils Anders Mortensen in the Grammy-nominated release Veslemøy Synsk on 2L. It is not bold to assume that Kielland and Mortensen has a special interest in Haugtussa?
In Grieg's cycle there is just a very short selection of Garborg`s 71 poems that are reproduced, and it is the dramatic love affair for Jon, who eventually betrays Veslemøy being "painted".
Vinje songs are the biggest portion of this production, with 12 songs in which Våren and at Rondane is by far the best known.
Six songs with poems by Ibsen concludes this SACD, and musically these are a bit different from Haugtussa and Vinje songs, and maybe a bit untypical for Grieg. Maybe also the most musically interesting part, where the song Stambogsrim is among my favorites.
Marianne Beate Kielland and Nils Anders Mortensen`s interpretations and performances are throughout very great. Marianne Beate Kielland's formidable singing voice goes well with the song material, and the interaction with Mortensen is also outstanding. The piano complements Kielland in an outstanding and almost receptive way to my ears.
The recording of these songs are done in Vågan Church (Lofoten Cathedral) in Kabelvåg - one of the largest churches and the largest wooden building in Norway north of Trondheim. The sound is top class in this release, with great dynamics and clarity and perspective. There is also a quite different character of the sound here than on the previous duo recording with vocals and piano I wrote about from Lawo. In Colores recorded in Sofienberg Church there was far more reflected sound around the vocal, and in my view this Grieg recording works even better. Not least because text perception is perhaps even more important here than on Colores. I can not avoid expressing a desire that Lawo also here added a 5.1 track, as they do on some of their SACDs.
This is overall a very good record with the most famous of Grieg's songs and a great sound flanked by an as usual very appealing cover makes this a record highly recommended.
This review was originally written and published by me at www.Audiophile.no.
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