Pedersen, Norwegian Soloists Choir - Grieg: Choir Music (2007)

Posted By: peotuvave
Pedersen, Norwegian Soloists Choir - Grieg: Choir Music (2007)

Pedersen, Norwegian Soloists Choir - Grieg: Choir Music (2007)
EAC Rip | Flac (Image + cue + log) | 1 CD | Full Scans | 233 MB
Genre: Classical | Label: Bis | Catalog Number: 1661

Though as central to his compositional career as his piano works, Grieg's choral works are rarely heard outside his native land and even more rarely recorded. This splendid 2007 BIS disc with Grete Pedersen leading the Norske Solistkor (the Norwegian Soloists' Choir) adds 13 a cappella pieces to the international Grieg catalog. Some are intimately emotional secular works like "Margaret's Cradle Song," while others are grander scared works like the setting of "Ave, Maris Stella." Some like "As I Lay Down So Late" were originally composed for the medium, while others were adapted for the medium either by the composer from one of his songs as in "Last Spring" or by the conductor from one of his piano pieces as in "Once Upon a Time" from the Opus 71 set of Lyric Pieces. And the last of them, the Four Psalms written directly for chorus, are the composer's last works for any medium. Like the best of Grieg's music in any genre, each work here is lovely, particularly in these warm yet clear performances by Pedersen and the Norwegian choir recorded in deep, resonant sound by BIS.

Composer: Edvard Grieg
Conductor: Grete Pedersen Helgerod
Orchestra/Ensemble: Norwegian Soloists' Choir

Reviews: I suppose there might be some Fanfare readers who don’t like singing. Those might well be the only people I can imagine not finding this disc attractive. Here is an hour of beautiful, imaginative, individualistic choral music, beautifully sung and recorded. Much of the music here was a discovery for me, though there are some familiar Grieg pieces in choral arrangements (by others, not by Grieg). Those arrangements are tasteful and completely idiomatic, and one could easily imagine Grieg approving them.


The Four Psalms , op. 74, is the principal discovery here. These are Grieg’s final compositions, and they are masterful settings. These are among his few religious works, and he was not in fact a religious person. His widow, Nina, indicated that these works did not represent a late-life conversion, but were Grieg’s response to Lindeman’s collection of Norwegian folk melodies, of which these are settings. Whatever the inspiration, these are remarkable, gripping, harmonically daring, and extremely beautiful settings.


This disc is a delight—and produced with typical BIS thoroughness. Rune Andersen’s notes are very informative and thorough, there are complete texts and translations, and the recording heard in standard two-channel stereo is stunningly clear and natural. Det Norske Solistkor (The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir) has been in existence since 1950, and Grete Pedersen is only its second director, having assumed that position in 1990. The 26 singers are all professionals, and they sound it. The solo and ensemble work heard on this disc is exemplary.


There isn’t really direct competition for this disc. A lovely recording on Chandos (9767) features choral music of Grieg and Niels Gade, including some of the repertoire here. I’m fortunate enough to have both discs and don’t have to give one up, which would be difficult—but if forced to choose I’d pick this one because each piece is a true gem.

Tracklisting:

1. Ved Rondane (At Rondane), song for voice & piano, Op. 33/9
2. Jeg lagde mig så sildig (I Lay Down So Late), folk song for baritone & male chorus, Op. 30/1
3. Blegnet, segnet!, song for double chorus
4. Ave Maris Stella, song for voice & piano, EG 150
5. Margretes Vuggesang (Margaret's Lullaby), romance for voice & piano, Op. 15/1
6. Kveldssang for Blakken (Good-night Song for Dobbin), song for voice & piano (Barnlige Sange No. 5), Op. 61/5
7. Landkjending (Land-Sighting), cantata for baritone, male chorus, orchestra & organ ad lib, Op. 31
8. Våren (Last Spring), song for voice & piano, Op. 33/2
9. Folketone (Folk tune from Valdres), for piano (Stimmungen No. 4), Op. 73/4
10. Psalms (4) for baritone & chorus, Op. 74: I Himmelen (In Heav'n Above)
11. Psalms (4) for baritone & chorus, Op. 74: Jesus Kristus er opfaren (Jesus Christ Our Lord is Risen)
12. Psalms (4) for baritone & chorus, Op. 74: Guds Søn har gjort meg fri (God's Son Hath Set Me Free)
13. Psalms (4) for baritone & chorus, Op. 74: Hvad est du dog skjøn (How Fair Is Thy Face)

Exact Audio Copy V1.0 beta 3 from 29. August 2011

EAC extraction logfile from 30. July 2014, 2:28

Det Norske Solistkor, Grete Pedersen / Grieg - Choral Music

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Range status and errors

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Thanks to the original releaser