Suite in g minor for Violin and Piano
Johan Halvorsen (1864-1935) was born in Norwegian town of Drammen. As a boy, he was given violin lessons and his talent quickly became apparent. He took violin lessons in both Oslo and Stockholm before he entered the Leipzig Conservatory and where he studied violin with Adolph Brodsky. He continued his studies in Belgium with Cesar Thomson and then in St. Petersburg with Leopold Auer. All during this time he supported himself by concertizing throughout Europe, while at the same serving as concertmaster of a number of orchestras including, the Leipzig Gewandhaus and those in Aberdeen, Helsinki, Bergen and Stockholm. In 1899, he was appointed conductor of the orchestra at the newly-opened National Theatre in Oslo, a position he held for 30 years until his retirement in 1929. He wrote in most genres and followed the so-called national romantic tradition, pioneered by Edvard Grieg, with his own distinctive style. His writing for the violin is particularly fine. Today he is only remembered for a few works such as his orchestral march Bojarenes inntogsmarsj (Entry of the Boyars)and his Passacaglia and Sarabande, a duet for violin and viola based on themes by Handel.
His Suite in g minor, in four movements, was composed in 1890, while Halvorsen was serving as a Professor at the Helsinki Conservatory and concertmaster of the city's orchestra. Though not particularly Nordic-sounding (Halvorsen as a widely traveled man kept well-abreast of European trends), the music has a grand and majestic character, escpecially the monumental opening movement, Maestoso, A simple, but highly appealing slower movement, Melodie is not without considerable drama. Then comes a catchy Scherzo. An exciting finale tops of this wonderful work.
An absolute first-rate candidate for the recital hall. Fresh-sounding, it is sure to make a strong impression. Long out of print, we are pleased to reintroduce it.