Decca / 2022

Grieg

Lise Davidsen, soprano

“This is one of those albums where the synergy between the two artists and their mutual affinity with the repertoire combine to truly spellbinding effect. Davidsen may be destined for Isolde and Brünnhilde, but she’s also capable of extraordinary delicacy when painting on a smaller canvas – and Andsnes backs her to the hilt throughout, revelling in the passages where she unleashes the full firepower but never obscuring the vocal line in the many magical moments where she tapers the sound to a fine silvery thread.”

– Presto Music – Album of the Week

About

Lise Davidsen and Leif Ove Andsnes, two Norwegian artists who have risen to the top of the classical music world, have collaborated for the first time on a new album of Edvard Grieg songs out now on Decca Classics/Universal Music Canada, the country’s leading music company. The album will be accompanied by a European recital tour, providing listeners and audiences the opportunity to experience Norway’s leading classical artists performing the songs of their country’s greatest composer.

Lise Davidsen has been hailed by The New York Times as the soprano with a “one-in-a-million voice”. Since winning Plácido Domingo’s Operalia and Queen Sonja competitions in 2015, she has starred in leading roles at the world’s greatest opera houses and has released two UK Classical Number 1 albums on Decca Classics. Davidsen teams up with her compatriot Leif Ove Andsnes, the pianist praised by The Wall Street Journal as “one of the most gifted musicians of his generation.”

Recording in the Norwegian town of Bodø in the Arctic Circle, Davidsen and Andsnes immersed themselves in music that is central to their country’s musical identity. ‘Everyone in Norway knows this music,’ Davidsen says. ‘I am very aware of the conventions of how it “should” be done and by whom. This project was about listening to the music on our own terms, trying to find our Grieg sound.’

Haugtussa, Grieg’s only song cycle, forms the centrepiece of the album. The text is from Arne Garborg’s 1895 verse Novella Haugtussa, written in the regional dialect of “Nynorsk” as a nationalist rebuttal to Danish-derived Norwegian language. Grieg’s setting infuses the form of the Romantic narrative song cycle with the distinctive character of his homeland. In Six Songs, the influence of Norwegian folk melodies is clearly heard. The German-language Five Poems demonstrates Grieg’s mastery of a more continental approach to Lied as well as his expressive range: ‘That you can have “Zur Rosenzeit” and “Lauf der Welt” in the same opus feels very human to me,’ says Davidsen; ‘I love the way Grieg can take you immediately from something profound to something apparently so light.

Track Listing

Grieg

1 – 8. Haugtussa, Op. 67
9. En svane (No. 2 from Seks Digte af Henrik Ibsen, Op. 25)
10. Med en vandlije, Op. 25 No. 4
11. Til én, Op. 59, No. 3
12. Til en II, Op. 59 No. 4
13. 6. Jeg Elsker Deg, Op. 41 No. 3
14.  Og jeg vil ha mig hjertenskjaer (And I would like a sweetheart true), Op. 60 No. 5
15. Ved Rondane (from 12 Songs Op. 33)
16 – 20. Five Songs by Otto Benzon, Op. 69
21. Poesy (No. 5 from Romances and Songs, Op. 18)
22 – 27. Seks Sange, Op. 48
28. Våren, Op. 33 No. 2

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