This CD commemorates the 100th birthday of the Norwegian composer and organist Leif Solberg (b. 1914). Solberg's only symphony (1950-51) confirms the contrapuntal mastery evident in his magisterial organ works, investing it with a touch of sardonic humour and the dancing rhythms of Norwegian folk-music; the choral Good Friday Meditation, by contrast, points to the lyrical side of his muse.
Tim Collins, organ; Anna Sundstrom Otervik, mezzo soprano; Magnus Ingemund Kjelstad, baritone; Solberg Centenary Singers; Marit Tondel Bodsberg, conductor; Liepaja Symphony Orchestra; Paul Mann, conductor
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Catalogue No: TOCC0260EAN/UPC: 5060113442604Release Date: 03.12.2014Composer: Leif Solberg Artists: Anna Sundstrom Otervik,
Liepaja Symphony Orchestra,
Magnus Ingemund Kjelstad,
Marit Tondel Bodsberg,
Solberg Centenary Singers,
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Stephen Pritchard :
“… The Liepaja players unearth the dark thread that runs under the uneasy vitality of the symphony’s outer movements and move us with the grief of its central andante. Solberg was organist at Lillehammer for 44 years, writing both for the instrument and for voices. His accessible Good Friday Meditation is beautifully sung here, while examples of his muscular organ works are played with authority by Tim Collins, who holds the post today.” The Observer
Amazon Review :
“A revelation ! The symphony is extremely moving, full of integrity, highly individual, and a real find. I played it to the local Music Society last week, and their reaction was the same. ( not what I was expecting !) And Solberg was virtually unknown in Norway, except in Lillehammer, until recently and huge thanks are due to Paul Mann and Toccata Classics for recording this – with an orchestra that is virtually unknown here. And why the Oslo Philharmonic hasn’t recorded this – Solberg is one of their own after all – remains a mystery. But the present recording is terrific, and I have been bowled over by it. Long live Solberg, now over 100. It would be a cracker at the Proms! Repeat – for me this was a revelation.” —Anthony Theaker, Amazon.co.uk Review
Gerald Fenech :
… Although almost spending ninety years of his life immersed in music, Solberg’s compositional output is small, so this CD is as interesting as it is invaluable as it embraces practically all of Solberg’s most important works. … The 1950-51 Symphony is the composer’s only original orchestral score, and the work seems to have the spirits of Grieg and Nielsen folded into one. The music is terse and direct, and seems to inhabit an emotional world which is far from straightforward. Volatile, quirky and constantly surprising, the symphony suggests having one foot in Norwegian folklore and another in something more individual. … The Good Friday Meditation (1952-1955) is the other substantial piece on the programme. It is one of Solberg’s most significant works for church choir, and maybe his most emotional and intense creation for the voice. … The inventive thirteen-minute Fantasy and Fugue and three other short pieces for orchestra complete an issue that should make Toccata Classics proud. Unbridled and vibrantly committed performances, superb sound and annotations and an overgenerous playing time are the ingredients of this superb yet innovative undertaking that should be snapped up without further hesitation.” —Daily Classical Music, September 2015
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