The Strad Issue: January 2011
Musicians: Marianne Thorsen (violin)* Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra/Neeme Järvi
Before he was a composer, Johan Halvorsen was a virtuoso violinist, and his works for violin and orchestra are wonderfully written for the instrument. His music, like that of his friend Grieg, is steeped in the folk traditions of his native Norway, and Marianne Thorsen, one of the foremost Norwegian violinists of today, is clearly in her element, with an obvious understanding of Halvorsen’s musical language and the folk idioms that underpin it. When the composer throws in some technical fireworks she fields them with aplomb, but it is her melodic fluency that stays in the mind. The Chant de la Veslemöy is three and half minutes of poetic lyrical finesse. She brings more fibre to the Air norvégien, and the shadow of some folk fiddling to the Three Norwegian Dances, all set in a reverberant acoustic. The Bergen Philharmonic provides sensitive support, and gives spirited performances of the other works on the disc.