Presseomtaler

fremhevetOC09

Her ligger et lite utvalg av presseomtaler av Oslo Cameratas utgivelser

Anmeldelser av Grieg/Nordheim strykekvartetter 2012:

Klaus Heyman, Director of Naxos, recommends:
Grieg: String Quartets / Nordheim: Rendezvous

The Grieg G minor string quartet is one of the finest string quartets of the second half of the 19th century, but is hardly ever performed. I hope that this new recording of Alf Årdal’s arrangements for string orchestra will make the work, and the unfinished F major quartet, better known. The players of the Oslo Camerata have lived with the quartets all their musical lives and give convincing, heartfelt performances under their director Stephan Barratt-Due. Rendezvous, an original composition by Arne Nordheim makes an interesting addition. There is no other recording of these arrangements – enjoy!


Grieg: String Quartets, Arranged for String Orchestra / Nordheim: Rendezvous
Audio CD – Naxos –
Written by Robert Markow, FANFARE
If until now Grieg’s String Quartet hasn’t meant much to you, or if you’ve been putting off getting to know it because it’s presumably not in the class of the Beethoven or Brahms quartets, now is the time to change that. The Oslo Camerata’s performance is so compelling, so full of life and spirit and energy, and so well recorded, that you may well fall in love with the piece. It is played in a string-orchestra transcription by Alf Årdal that grabs you from the opening leap into a coup d’archetunison chord and rivets your attention until the end. The 19-member Oslo Camerata is obviously a hand-picked ensemble with not a single weak player. Numerous passages, especially in the finale (a whirling, virtuosic saltarello), would tax most soloists, but the Camerata tosses them off with the utmost precision and panache. Their leader, Stephan Barratt-Due, inspires total unanimity of style, a huge dynamic range, and a hyper-expressive approach to the music without ever exceeding the bounds of good taste. Adding a further measure of glamour to the superb playing is Naxos’s sparkling-clear, glowing, full-bodied sound that almost takes on a life of its own. In fact, the sound is so immediate and resonant it is almost like being insidean instrument. Put all these qualities together and the result is a mesmerizing performance. I have listened to this disc easily a dozen times and can’t get enough of it.

In 1891, 13 years after finishing his only complete quartet, Grieg wrote two movements of an additional quartet, which also receive a spot-on performance in Årdal’s transcription. The music is as good as that of the completed work, and one only wishes there were more of it. Like the earlier quartet, this one features engaging melodies, expansive development of the material (the two movements last 20 minutes), and a continuous sense of momentum. The second movement (Allegro scherzando) has all the power and demonic energy of a Mahler scherzo.

A third work originally for string quartet also presented here in string-orchestra transcription is Arne Nordheim’s Rendezvous. Nordheim, who died just two years ago, did his own transcription in 1986 of a quartet he’d written 30 years earlier, and it serves as a worthy complement to the music of his countryman Grieg. Annotator Keith Anderson suggests that the new title resulted from “a meeting with [the composer’s] younger self.” Even without acquaintance with the earlier work, I can say that the three-movement, 22-minute Rendezvousis one of the finest 20th-century works for string orchestra I know. Stylistically it comes close to some of the darker, bleaker utterances of Sibelius, Honegger, and Martin without imitating any of them. There is a stark beauty to this music, gripping in its intensity and full of imaginative dramatic and coloristic touches. As well, there is a sense of that strange spatial loneliness, a vaguely ominous feeling that pervades some of Shostakovich’s music.
This is the kind of recording for which the admonition “Run, don’t walk to the nearest store” may be invoked. Robert Markow

Anmeldelser av Spohr-CD (2010):

FANFARE: Robert Maxham:
Olav Anton Thommessen’s notes to Naxos’s release of two concertants by Louis Spohr notes the composer’s predilection for compositions intended for double forces (the double quartet, the violin duos, and the Seventh Symphony for double orchestra), which Thommessen traces to Spohr’s experience of hearing antiphonal singing in St. Petersburg. The two concertants played by Henning Kraggerud and Øyvind Bjorå span a quarter of a century, while Spohr published the duet much earlier.

Those who admire both Spohr’s duets (often regarded as the best ever written for two violins) and his violin concertos should delight in these concertants; they combine the same sort of relationship between the solos and orchestra, the same melodic turns and penchant for ornamented melody from the concertos with the active, though here more homophonic than contrapuntal, partnership of the two violins from the duets. Aficionados of Spohr’s works will note that perhaps his most popular concerto (at least nowadays), the Eighth, op. 47, comes from the same general period as the First Concertant. That’s apparent in both the figuration and, to some extent, in the thematic material of the first movement. Kraggerud and Bjorå play Spohr’s intricate tracery exuberantly at a rapid tempo. They match so well that they present almost a single strand of sound to counter the orchestra’s forces. Both violinists play with tonal and technical command (Kraggerud on a 1744 Guarneri del Gesù), producing a warm sonority in the melodious slow movement. The Rondo presents the two soloists in dialogue that almost belies Thommessen’s attempt to set Spohr apart from some of his more self-aggrandizing contemporaries; there’s no lack of purely virtuoso excitement in either the first or last of the movements, even if Spohr’s type of virtuosity belonged to an era earlier than Paganini’s (Spohr, for example, disdained off-the-string staccato). Passages in the finale so similar that, but for the dates of their composition, they might have been lifted from the Duo Concertant, op. 67/2 (from 1824), argue for Spohr’s relative stability through his career (although some may point to signs of stylistic development in the concertos). Still, the Second Concertant begins in a mood of darker anticipation (Spohr has been described as addicted to minor keys, perhaps because of the slinkier chromatic possibilities they offer). As in the First Concertant, the soloists enter singing together before loosening their woven strands. Their cooperation as they swirl giddily together in the movement’s headlong passagework (and in the finale’s, as well) could serve as a model, though perhaps one difficult if not impossible to emulate, of perfect ensemble coordination. The slow movement begins with a passage for the two violins alone, reminiscent in its texture of the duos. Spohr, as mentioned, has often been described as the most successful writer of duos for two violins, perhaps because he buried the individuality of the two parts in those works in thickly orchestral textures, allowing for almost symphonic proportions and complexity. As does the Aria of Spohr’s Eighth Concerto, this slow movement has a bravura rapid section at its core. The finale sounds elegant, as do the soloists. The orchestra throughout contributes a sonorous symphonic accompaniment, which the engineers have captured in all its majesty.

The Duet in G Major, as early as it may be, sounds so much like the later duets, at least insofar as the writing for the violins and the thematic turns go, that it might bear a later opus number. These duets exploit the full range of the violin as well as almost all of the pre-Paganini (or at least, non-Paganini) technical devices, assigning them simultaneously to the two violins—no simple trapeze artist and catcher here. David and Igor Oistrakh used to play Spohr’s Duo, op. 67/2, through which they sped at breakneck speed. Kraggerud and Bjorå play this one as Spohr’s duo, not theirs.

I remember Spohr sweatshirts several generations ago, so perhaps Spohr’s time has come and gone again. But recordings like this one suggest that there’s a third (and perhaps fourth and fifth) spring in store for his music. For its breathtaking performances and for its ingratiating repertoire, Naxos’s collection deserves a very strong recommendation across the board.

 

Anmeldelser av Grieg-CD (2006):

Klassisk musikkmagasin 3/2006 (Martin Anderson):
– Fremførelsen av de syv verkene på den nye Naxos-CDen fra Oslo Camerata er noe av det beste som finnes innspilt: de har kammermusikalsk intensitet i sitt spill som man ikke hører fra større ensembler. Slik musisering i miniatyr tillater dem også en egen grad av uttrykksfrihet, som betyr at de kan drikke rett fra kilden i Griegs folkemusikkfestede inspirasjon, mer virkningsfullt enn jeg noen gang har hørt det…

Gramophone, September 2006 (Mike Ashman):
«Bonbons stuffed with snow»? Not according to this disc.
Here a younger and smaller Norwegian ensemble look at the Holberg Suite with a light, almost period approach – «period» 18th-century, that is – eschewing weighty Romantic melancoly in favour of a constant evocation of the music’s French Baroque roots and uncovering how Grieg (once more) drew on Norwegian folk models to make up the dance elements in his Suite.
The Holberg music is most collectable the approach taken; it has a winningly «live» feel…
Of especial merit among the accompanying pieces are moving renderings of the familiar Elegiac Melody «Last Spring» and the large-scale Nordic Melody «In Folk Style», a mini tone-poem in its own right and proof, if needed, that Grieg’s miniatures were far from «bonbons stuffed with snow» that Stravinsky (enviously?) called them.

«Oslo Camerata imponerer med frisk og usentimental Grieg»
Les mer: Aftenposten, «Ukens utvalgte» (Kjell Hillveg)

«Her sitter alt som det skal, og i tillegg er det nerve og fremdrift som forbindes med ungdommelig glød og pågangsmot»
Les mer: Aftenposten (Idar Karevold)

«I have rarely heard such gorgeous, impeccably tuned and rhythmically precise playing from a string group, even those that make up the string sections of the world famous orchestras like the Berlin Philharmonic»
Les mer: Amazon.com (J Scott Morrison)

«Superbly performed string scores by the Oslo Camerata»
Les mer: musicweb-international.com  (Michael Cookson)

«The playing of the Oslo Camerata here is uniformly excellent: vibrant, rhythmically taut, and full of life…»
Les mer: Classicstoday.com (David Hurwitz)