Calendar, Tours, Reviews


Highlights from calendars 2018-2010


14 - 23 April 2018
Terje Mikkelsen's South America tour in April 2018 with
Russian State Symphony Orchestra

BORODIN: Polovtsian Dances
GLINKA: Ouverture Ruslan and Ludmila
GRIEG: Excerpts Peer Gynt Suites 1&2
PROKOFIEV: Peter and the Wolf
RACHMANINOV: Concerto for Pianoforte and Orchestra Nr. 2
ROSSINI: Ouverture Guglielmo Tell,
SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony Nr. 5
TCHAIKOVSKY: Ouverture 1812
TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano concerto Nr. 1
TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 5
WAGNER: Ouverture „Rienzi“

Auditorio Ibirapuera, São Paulo, Brazil
Parque Ibirapuera, São Paolo
Sala São Paulo
Teatro Solís, Montevideo, Uruguay
Gran Teatro Nacional, Lima, Peru
Teatro Coliseo, Buenos Aires, Argenina

10 July 2015
Terje Mikkelsen conducts Keith Emerson Three Fates Project
BBC Concert Orchestra, Keith Emerson, Marc Bonilla
London, Barbican Hall, 8 p.m.

11 - 20 April 2015
Terje Mikkelsen's South America April tour in 2015 with
Russian State Symphony Orchestra

GRIEG: Peer Gynt Suite No 1
DVORAK: Cello Concerto
HALVORSEN: Norwegian Rhapsody
TCHAIKOVSKY: Romeo and Juliet
TCHAIKOVSKY: Sleeping Beauty Suite
TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No 4

Auditorio Ibirapuera, São Paulo, Brazil
Parque Ibirapuera, São Paulo
Concert Sala São Paulo
Teatro Coliseo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Teatro El Circulo, Buenos Aires
Centro de las Artes 660, Santiago, Chile

24 – 25 November 2011
Terje Mikkelsen’s Spain tour in March 2011 with
Münchner Rundfunkorchester

ALNÆS: Symphony Nr. 1
SCHUMANN: Concerto for piano and Orchestra.
SERVAIS: Souvenir de Spa for Cello and Orchestra
WEBER: Oberon overture

Auditorio Príncipe Felipe, Ovideo
Palacio de Festivales de Cantabria, Santander:

1 – 7 March 2011
Terje Mikkelsen’s UK tour in March 2011 with
Czech National Symphony Orchestra

GRIEG: Peer Gynt Suite
DVORAK: Symphony No.7
DVORAK: Symphony No.9 (From the New World)
MOZART: Marriage of Figaro overture
RACHMANINOV: Piano Concerto No.3

Theatre Severn, Shrewsbury
Cadogan Hall, London

15 – 31 October 2010
Terje Mikkelsen’s UK tour in October 2010 with
Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio

GRIEG: Peer Gynt Suite
OLSEN: Aasgaardsreien (The Wild Hunt of Thor)
PROKOFIEV: Piano Concerto No. 3
RACHMANINOV: Piano Concerto No.3
RACHMANINOV: Symphony No. 2
SHOSTAKOVICH: Symphony No. 5
SIBELIUS: Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op 47
STRAVINSKY: Four Norwegian Moods
SVENDSEN: Carnival in Paris
TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 4
TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 5

Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts: Brangwyn Hall, Guildhall
Canterbury Festival: Canterbury Cathedral
Assembly Rooms, Derby
City Hall, Hull
Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham
Town Hall, Middlesbrough
The Sands Centre, Carlisle
City Hall, Sheffield
The Corn Exchange, Cambridge
Warwick Arts Centre
Colston Hall, Bristol
Great Hall, Lancaster
St George's Concert Hall, Bradford
Leeds Town Hall
Cliffs Pavilion, Westcliff-on-Sea

19 – 20 June 2010
Terje Mikkelsen’s tour to the Arctic Arts Festival, Harstad in Norway, June 2010 with
Tchaikovsky Symphony Orchestra of Moscow Radio

Orchestral concert 19 June
OLSEN: Aasgaardsreien (The Wild Hunt of Thor)
ALNÆS: Symphony No 1
TCHAIKOVSKY: Symphony No. 4

Opera Gala 20 June:
Mari Eriksmoen and Simone Riksman - soprano, Angelica Voje - mezzosoprano
Magnus Staveland and Peter Lodahl, tenor, Audun Iversen - baritone, Timo Riihonen - basso

From: STRAUSS: Die Fledermaus, BIZET: The Pearlfishers, MOZART: Die Zauberflöte and Don Giovanni, ROSSINI: Il barbiere di Siviglia, TCHAIKOVSKY: Eugene Onegin and Queen of Spades, GLINKA: Ruslan og Ludmilla, DELIBES: Lakmé, PUCCINI: La Boheme and Turoandot, BEETHOVEN: Fidelio, BERNSTEIN: Candide, VERDI: Simon Boccanegra and Rigoletto:

29 April – May 1 2010
Terje Mikkelsen’s Spain tour in April-May 2010 with
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields

BEETHOVEN: Overture: Egmont
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No.7 in A major Op.92
HAYDN: Symphony No.104 in D ‘London’

Auditorio Pazo De Congresos Municipal, Ourense
Teatro Del Centro Cultural ,Vigo
Palacio De Congresos Y Festivales De Cantabria, Santander





Terje Mikkelsen graduated from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki where he studied with Jorma Panula. An equally important influence was Mariss Jansons with whom Mikkelsen studied privately in Oslo and in St Petersburg.

To date Mikkelsen has been principal conductor of the national orchestras in the Ukraine, Latvia and Thüringen, principal conductor in Shanghai, principal guest conductor in Lithuania and of the Moscow Tchaikovsky Orchestra with whom he toured Norway and England during the previous season. Mikkelsen also visited England with the Czech National Orchestra and toured Spain with St Martin in the Fields, Azerbaijan with the New Russia Orchestra, took part in an exchange programme in Ho Chi Minh City and an environmental project for the World Bank in Mongolia. He has been a visiting professor at the College of Music at the Mahidon University in Bangkok since 2001; he loves to travel! Preferably with Lufthansa – or by car.

Mikkelsen frequently conducts the Munich Radio Orchestra with whom he traveled to Spain in November 2011 to perform Eyvind Alnæs’ first symphony. The occasion also marked the release of the orchestra’s CD of four works for orchestra by Finn Mortensen. This was not the first time Mikkelsen recorded Norwegian music with an orchestra from abroad. He recorded most of the dramatic music and works for orchestra by Halvorsen and Svendsen with the Latvian orchestra, and in 2009 the released a recording of Alnæs’ ‘forgotten’ symphonies which stayed at the top of the German classical music charts for several weeks. In total Mikkelsen has made some fifty recordings, twenty of which are of Norwegian music.
Most of the recordings were made with the assistance of EMI’s senior sound engineer at Abbey Road Studios – Sir Paul McCartney’s sound technician – Arne Axelberg. Mikkelsen and Axelberg have been collaborating ever since Mikkelsen conducted the wind band Opus 82 in the 1980s. Axelberg has witnessed his friend’s immense musical development.

“Terje uses the orchestra as a single instrument and he has a unique rapport with the players. He is highly intelligent and never wastes rehearsal time because he prepares so thoroughly. He always makes things work, even under hopeless conditions!”

While Norwegian orchestras are criticized for including too few Norwegian works, Mikkelsen succeeds in programming Norwegian music for concert tours and recording projects abroad. How does he manage it? The Spanish agent Sorin Melinte is curious about other aspects of programming:
“How can it be that a wonderful composer like Alnæs is so little known? Do you have the same expression as we have about being a prophet in your own country?” he wonders, stating that Mikkelsen is a true patriot constantly taking Norwegian music on tour. Melinte also wonders why Mikkelsen never travels with a Norwegian orchestra.

“The opening concert of the tour I arranged with the Munich Radio Orchestra in November 2011 was Terje’s hundredth concert in Spain. We have been working together for eighteen years. His first visit was with the Kiev Philharmonic and he has since been here with German, Baltic, Russian and Chinese orchestras. In 2010 he brought the Academy of St Martin in the Fields. After twenty-three years’ in the business I can safely say that there are few who match Terje’s abilities in this field. Most conductors are ‘single orchestra conductors’ who only achieve good results with their own ensemble. In the course of just a few rehearsals Terje can get a group of musicians he’s never met before to change their sound completely – the way he wants it. He is an orchestra builder with considerable social and artistic abilities.”

Quite a testimony. Andrew Jamieson, tour manager for the Oslo Philharmonic at IMG, who organized Mikkelsen’s England visits 2010, is in full agreement with Melinte’s words.

“Both tours were a success. What I have noticed is his unusual ability to communicate with both orchestra and audience. Even though I recognize certain traits from Jansons, Mikkelsen is a different personality and has his own way of doing things. He is a rare species – an extrovert, proactive conductor. Most are introvert. Mikkelsen is an ‘enabler’, one who makes things really happen. His generous, bear-like personality oozes energy and strength. I look forward to working with him in the future.”

The time has come for us to have a chat with the maestro ourselves. KM is curious as to why he has focused so much on the new Eastern Europe.
“For me it has been imperative to understand the vital role of culture in upbringing. It is truly impressive to learn what people my age had regular access to of music, ballet, theatre, literature and art. One sees a greater western influence now, but they are still way ahead of us in cultural upbringing. In China I have got to know their history of several thousand years, which still influences philosophy, thinking and, not least, the time factor. China opens a new concert hall almost once a week, planned by the world’s leading experts in acoustics. The inspiration I receive in these countries has been very important to me at a human and an artistic level.”

What is the reason for your programming so much Norwegian music?

“It’s not that difficult, really. I have focused on explaining how cultural figures such as Bull, Grieg and Ibsen played an important part in building our nation. The fact that we are a relatively young nation is particularly interesting to the east European countries with their bloody histories. So I would often start out with a 17th of May concert featuring Norwegian national romantic music and Norwegian soloists – and take it from there.”
As simple as that? Grieg, Halvorsen and Svendsen for a 17th of May programme is one thing, but getting a German orchestra to record an entire CD of Mortensen is not something you achieve overnight!

“It is almost. The orchestra was very positively surprised by Finn Mortensen, and the reception of the Alnæs symphonies was beyond all expectations. Several of the venues on the forthcoming Spanish tour have requested Alnæs. And I always have at least one Norwegian encore with me on tour.”

One of Russia’s leading music critics, Ilja Ovtsjinnikov who writes for the Moscow newspaper Vremja, wrote the following after the Tchaikovsky Orchestra’s concert at the Arts Festival of North Norway 2010: “Mikkelsen is a charismatic and fascinating conductor of that rare species that is appreciated by the players: Do you believe it possible to captivate a leading Russian orchestra with Tchaikovsky’s fourth symphony, a work they have played countless times? The answer is quite clearly yes. ‘Even though Fedosejev’s interpretation changes over time, we know it well. With Mikkelsen we learnt the work from scratch.’”

As equally important as touring Tchaikovsky and Alnæs are Terje Mikkelsen’s activities with film music, rock and jazz for symphony orchestra. His collaboration with rock legend Keith Emerson (of Emerson, Lake & Palmer from the 1970s) has lasted since 2006 when they met in Beijing where Emerson was soloist in Ginastera’s piano concerto.

“I had been trying to involve orchestras in my rock projects ever since the 1960s and had worked with Zubin Mehta and others. But it was always difficult for them to get really into the rock,” recounts Emerson on a poor telephone line from Los Angeles late in the evening. “Terje understands this better than anyone, and gets the orchestra on his side. He is at home with all sorts of music and has done some fantastic arrangements for the CD we’re recording in Munich in the autumn.”

Emerson’s guitarist Marc Bonilla adds “Terje is a rock ‘n’ roll conductor, tireless and enthusiastic as a teenager!”

And when will we have the chance of hearing this in Norway?

“We would love to come,” says Emerson, who fondly recalls performing at Oslo’s legendary Club 7 back in the day.

Hilde Holbæk-Hanssen
The article was originally published in Klassisk Musikkmagasin ( 2012:3), Norway.


GRAPPA Newsletter Review

Münchner Rundfunkorchester Finn Mortensen
Terje Mikkelsen undoubtedly has a certain sense for bringing great, unknown music to his listeners. He was the first to record Grieg' symphony, and has recently released premiere recordings by composers including Svendsen, Halvorsen, Alnæs and Tellefsen. As the second recording in a close co-operation together with the Münchner Rundfunkorchester, Mikkelsen is releasing the highly rewarding and rich orchestral works of Finn Mortensen.

Finn Mortensen (1922-83) is one of those composers whose ideas and aesthetics seems to come into vogue long after their own time. The first Professor of composition at the Norwegian Academy of Music, Mortensen became the inspirator for a generation of composers, bringing ideas first hand from Darmstadt as well as Stockhausen's master classes at Studio für Elektronische Musik.

Generous modernism - through twelve-note music and beyond
Very much inspired by Bruckner, Finn Mortensen's symphony is a structural masterpiece in a late romantic style, loaded in emotional content. It has been commented on how Mortensen, himself audibly (?) a natural romantic, could become the foremost spokesman for international modernism in Norway. To him twelve-note music possessed an obvious great potential for emotional expressivity. In the time to come his compositions became much freer, and in his "neo-serial" compositional style of 1970 melodic and tonal elements played an important part.

Mikkelsen the 'enabler'
"Something as rare as an extrovert, proactive, conductor. Mikkelsen is an enabler; one who makes things happen." This is the characteristic from IMG's Andrew Jaimeson, and it is a precise description of the man who studied with Mariss Jansons during his many years in Oslo, as well as with Panula at the Sibelius Academy. Now, some 50 CD releases later, Terje Mikkelsen inspires and gets results with the top orchestras. In 2010 he toured with St. Martin in the Fields in Spain. The same year In 2010 he brought the Tchaikovsky Orchestra for a big tour in the UK to great critical acclaim, returning in 2011 with Czech National Symphony orchestra. In November this year he will take the München Rundfunkorchester on a tour to Spain where they among other works will perform the first symphony by Eyvind Alnæs.

Crossing borders
Having held the post as Chief Conductor in Riga, Türingen and Kiev, Mikkelsen is also in demand for his great abilities with such artists as Misha Maisky, Renee Fleming, John Lill and Michael Rudy. Now in September 2011, Mikkelsen leads the Münchner Rundfunkorchester in a spectacular recording with Keith Emerson on piano and keyboards in his famous compositions "Tarkus", "The Endless Enigma", "Piano Concerto" and a world premiere of his newly written work, "After all of This".

For more information please visit





"Reviews from American Record Guide"

Previously unknown Norwegian composers, rarely heard, should delight
American audiences. Mikkelsen's vision and direction is a key element.

ALNAES: Symphonies 1+2

Latvian Symphony/ Terje Mikkelsen

Sterling 1084 [SACD] 78 minutes

Eyvind Alnaes (1872-1932) was a gifted Norwegian composer who remains all but forgotten today, unlike Edvard Grieg, Christian Sinding, and Johan Svendsen—all of them along with Alnaes students of Carl Reinecke in Leipzig. Alnaes inherited from his father an affinity for choral music and songs even before embarking on his formal education at the Music and Organists’ College in Kristiania (now Oslo). His songs have been recorded by Kirsten Flagstad and Feodor Chaliapin, among others; our resident Scandinavian music expert Carl Bauman reviewed a Simax collection by soprano Bodil Arnesen and compared his songs favorably to both Grieg and Sibelius (Nov/Dec 1994). I must confess I found his D-major Piano Concerto (completed in 1913) inventive, yet hardly memorable, for all its imposing Wagnerian scoring (July/Aug 2007); and a second hearing while compiling this review merely confirmed my initial impression. Yet I sat transfixed all through both of these highly stimulating symphonies that bestride the concerto on either side: one from 1897-98 and the other from 1923. Together they make for an extremely well-filled disc; and if you enjoy Nordic music you may want to stop reading right now and seek out this new Sterling. Sterling’s founder Bo Hyttner describes the First Symphony of Alnaes as “personal...nothing less than an emotional experience”. That sentiment, as it happens, was clearly shared by the audience at the premiere; the critic Ulrik Mork wrote that in this seminal effort “inspiration goes hand in hand with a highly developed feeling for tonal color”, adding that “much can be expected of a young man who has written something as beautiful as the Andante of this symphony”. Indeed annotator Audun Jonassen calls this 12-minute span (actually designated Adagio) “perhaps the most beautiful slow movement ever written by a Norwegian composer”; and it’s difficult to demur on hearing it unfold from the warm and wonderfully expressive Latvian strings.

Under Mikkelsen it does seem closer to Andante; I have a feeling that in less sympathetic hands a noticeably slower tempo might reduce Alnaes’s impassioned flow of melody to something far more ordinary. (Note for example the ethereal quality of the string writing at 6:20—sheer bliss!) So the Adagio is easily the centerpiece of the symphony. But like me you may find yourself humming or whistling the opening movement (Allegro patetico—”with feeling”) that Jonassen thinks is reminiscent of Tchaikovsky’s Fourth. Actually, this music sounds so much like the Tchaikovsky—written 20 years earlier—that I have to believe Alnaes intended it as homage to a cherished model.

This material is worked up to a fare-thee-well both by Alnaes and Mikkelsen and contrasts effectively with the Adagio; in turn the Scherzo has little compelling character of its own but merely serves to set up the far more interesting finale, built around a march-like motif that starts out innocently enough in the violas, yet on reaching full force reminded me very much of the Scherzo from Brahms’s piano quintet. Through sheer manic energy it builds relentlessly to a shattering climax startlingly close to its counterpart in the First Symphony of Johan Svendsen (8:27) before forceful claps of the timpani herald the ringing conclusion. While the Second Symphony followed the first by some 25 years, the opening movement sounds as youthful and guileless as anything by a graduate music student—bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and eager to please. From that ecstatic revel we’re brought down to earth with the Lento; from the designation “quasi una marcia funebre” it is clear that it was intended as a eulogy for a close friend (the Danish publisher Alfred Wilhelm Hansen). If the opening movement of the C-minor Symphony seems modeled after the Tchaikovsky Fourth, here we may clearly hear echoes of the Pathetique, filled out by heavy rolling of the drums that might evoke the steady tread of the caisson. The Scherzo seems closer to Sullivan than any Nordic model; the woodwinds disport tongue in cheek over spirited busywork from the violins, with the smug bassoon getting in the last word.

In the finale Alnaes makes free use of the halling—a hearty Norwegian folk dance often heard from Grieg—spelled by a far trickier rhythm that requires the musicians to play with the greatest precision; and if the Latvian players are not always entirely spot-on, they are still mightily impressive, given Mikkelsen’s bracing tempos. Had Bo Hyttner simply signed on some patchwork studio ensemble to sight-read the Alnaes symphonies, no doubt we would still have a more than adequate makeweight. But he has done so much more than that: he has put up the big bucks to get Terje Mikkelsen and his splendid Latvian orchestra, who have already contributed so many marvelous recordings of Svendsen’s music to the catalog. And both sonics and annotations are beyond reproach.

In sum, all involved have done nobly by this music; certainly you should repay the favor by adding it to your shelf without hesitation.

American Record Guide


OLSEN: Symphony in G; Aasgaardsreien

Suite for Strings

Latvian Symphony/ Terje Mikkelsen

Sterling 1086 [SACD] 69 minutes

As far as I can tell, the Norwegian composer Ole Olsen—not to be confused with his more modern countryman Sparre Olsen or the Dane Poul Rovsing Olsen (July/Aug 2004) or the Swede Otto Olsson (Mar/Apr 1997)—has heretofore surfaced in these pages only through the heartfelt Funeral March included in the first collection of “Norwegian Classical Favorites” for Naxos (May/June 2004, p 192). Clearly that is our loss, if we can judge fairly by the very impressive works on offer here. Grove’s tells us little about Olsen, so the extensive discussion by Audun Sannes Jonassen is quite helpful. From the text we may glean the familiar narrative of a precocious and immensely talented lad born into a musical family, at first intended to follow an entirely unrelated career (Grove’s says an engineer, the present notes a watchmaker) until it was clear his true destiny could no longer be denied. We find that by the age of 4 he had already taught himself to read music; his first piece, somewhere between a polka and a march, came a year later. At 7 he was ready to take his father’s place as organist for church services. When he was 18 his first attempt at writing for the stage, encouraged by a visiting Danish theater company, was a great success; and two years later he commenced serious studies with Reinecke in Leipzig. His first symphony, written during this prolific time of his life, is largely lost, though the notes tell us the surviving Adagio was praised by the critics (if faintly, as the specter of Wagner clearly loomed overhead) together with the ‘Folkedans’ from his first grand opera Stig Hvide—too bad room wasn’t found for them too. He also obtained much helpful advice from Grieg, whose muse often surfaces here as well. This outstanding composer and mentor from the northernmost town of Hammerfest deserves to be remembered along with Grieg, Svendsen, Halvorsen, and Sinding as foremost among the great Norwegian composers.

Only three years separate the critically acclaimed Adagio of Olsen’s stillborn symphony from the G-major heard here; thus it’s tempting to hear in the expansive and songful Andante what might have been. Surely this rapt cantilena is the true centerpiece of the symphony. I can hear Grieg in the rhapsodic second subject, but though Jonassen calls our attention to the First Symphony of Svendsen in the opening theme I’m reminded even more of Bruch’s Scottish Fantasy and in particular the folk song ‘Auld Rob Morris’ from the first movement. But I’m certainly willing to grant a kinship with Svendsen in the second subject— as with the main theme perhaps more motivic than melodic—and in the swaggering unison brass writing (0:15f) even early Nielsen, while the nattering woodwind writing that spurs on the exhilarating development suggests that Tchaikovsky influenced the young Olsen as well. Most inventive of the lot is the Scherzo that unfolds as a sequence of episodes, each announced by the same motif, rather like a theme and variations structured as an elaborate quadrille. Jonassen tells us “the reviews were...generally very positive, even if the various critics could not agree about which movement was the finest”. I’m guessing odd man out was the finale: it does go on, and there are so many different themes and subthemes it’s difficult to keep track of them. The central one may be a chipper tune that seems rhythmically identical to the ‘Chorus of Villagers’ that launches Smetana’s Bartered Bride. But Olsen keeps things moving right along, and it’s hard to keep a sour face when everyone is clearly having such a high old time, right up to what Jonassen calls “a humorous concluding kick up the backside” that Mikkelsen and his expert Latvian players dispatch with great relish. In the cult TV favorite Stargate SG-1 the Asgard are a highly advanced and benevolent race of aliens (in appearance much like the familiar Roswell “Greys”) who led by their Supreme Commander Thor gave rise to early Norse mythology on Earth. Long before that, Stan Lee immortalized “The Mighty Thor” together with “Tales of Asgard” for legions of Marvel Comics devotees. Yet predating both of these, the highly graphic and vivid poem Asgaardsreien (The Ride of Asgaard) by Johann Sebastian Welhaven, published in 1845, inspired the symphonic poem by Ole Olsen. Some fleeting notion of the scope and grandeur of this saga may be gleaned from the gorgeous painting by Peter Nicolai Arbo that graces the cover; it is a richly detailed tapestry that strains mightily against the constraints of the silver disc, and in fact cries out for the detail an LP could offer. Like Wagner’s Valkyries, the fearsome host led by Thor strides across the heavens, plucking up mere mortals seemingly at whim as they go. In Welhaven’s poem they come on a wedding feast disrupted by a jealous suitor, the “berserker” Grim, who together with his brother Ulv viciously attacks the bridegroom; he fights back and mortally wounds Grim, but Ulv almost manages to dispatch the unfortunate lad until “through the air in the darkness rushed...a shouting procession of snorting horses” and Ulv is carried “far away, nowhere to be found”. Here Olsen recaps the earlier imagery to let us know all ends well: the bridegroom recovers from his wounds and lives long enough to tell the tale to a new generation of wide-eyed village youngsters.

The opening pages make one think Bald Mountain might have somehow been transported to Norway, and Mikkelsen piles into it like a man possessed; still for all the headlong fire and brimstone I can’t help noticing a marked rhythmic similarity to the opening sally of Svendsen’s First Symphony, while the sprightly nuptials with their clear evocation of the traditional Hardanger fiddle come very close to the ‘Wedding Dance’ from Peer Gynt. What Grieg himself might have thought about all of that is not entirely clear; but the notes suggest he was none too happy on hearing his own music reflected in Olsen’s Suite for Strings, itself derived from incidental music for Johan Nordahl Brun Rolfsen’s fairy tale comedy Svein Uraed. And no wonder; for not only is much of the suite very reminiscent of Peer Gynt—notably the opening ‘Song’ and the wistful ‘Spring’—but on top of that the hero, whose name (the notes helpfully inform us) might be translated as “Johnny Fearless”, is compelled to “journey around the world in search of a princess” and along the way, just like Peer Gynt, encounters trolls and elves who are clearly more civilized than the Mountain King’s minions as they prefer waltzes to more raucous fare. The concluding section, ‘Sunset’, is Olsen’s best-known song and the heart and soul of the suite, rapt and serene. As with their numerous recordings of Svendsen— not to mention the very fine pairing of symphonies by Eyvind Alnaes welcomed in the last issue—the Latvian players under Terje Mikkelsen’s committed leadership make a strong case for this unfamiliar music and are supported nobly by the Riga engineers. I’m pleased to recommend one more splendid entry in Sterling’s “Norwegian Romantics” series.

American Record Guide


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