Pianist Rune Alver’s new album “Catharinus Elling’s Works for Piano – A Love Poem” offers piano music of great diversity. Here, one may hear charming, precisely formulated miniatures one moment, and grandly conceived piano pieces the next.
The Norwegian composer Catharinus Elling (1858–1942) is one of the last hidden treasures of Norwegian late romanticism. He was a great melodicist, who left an extensive and interesting repertoire for the piano. This music has never previously been recorded. Here, long at last, it is finally released on this album!
Elling’s passionate relations to Norwegian folk music is expressed in his Norwegian folk melodies for piano. “Songs without Words” and “A Love Poem” show Elling’s personal poetic style. Even if Elling’s indebtedness to the German tradition is indisputable, his personal musical style is made clear on this record. It should come as no surprise that Edvard Grieg himself was impressed! “Elling is a lyrical maverick – with a character of his own!”
Rune Alver – Piano
Total time: 01:12:36
This recording has been made possible with support from Arts Council Norway, Fund For Performing Artists, Norwegian Musicians' Union, Inger Johanne and Roar Ektvedt, Frekhaug
Thomas Wolden, Tom Caulfield (DXD to DSD Transfers)
|Original Recording Format|
Sofienberg Church in Oslo, Norway on March 5-7, 2018
|Release Date||February 18, 2022|
This is a wonderful recording in its own right.
The program is divided between gentle salon miniatures and atmospheric transcriptions of Norwegian folk songs. Do not expect anything as radical as Grieg’s Slåtter (and not Bartók at all). The folk music here is tamed – but beautiful. All nine transcriptions are similarly simple, but full of emotion; they actually anticipate Sibelius’ piano miniatures, where he, like Elling before him, could create a world of atmosphere with the simplest melodic outline. In fact, it is the understatement itself that gives the music much of its effect, combined with the emotional ambiguity of its modal harmonies.
Although only one of the pieces is called A Love Poem, Rune Alver plays them all with love. Some with the kind of care that when you hold a young bird in your hand. Lawo has given him a beautiful warm and rounded piano tone.
All in all, a heartwarming and moving album – and an important part of Norwegian music history. Although Kossakerne is the Elling work that calls most for a good, modern recording, these miniatures also show a master’s hand – one that is also the friendliest among poets.
The Classical Music Blog
Rune Alver is here with a wonderful and pleasant recording of piano music composed by Catharinus Elling (1858-1942).
The music reflects Elling’s fascination for a good melody, as well as for folk music. It is so important that recordings like these are made. These small pieces are an important part of our cultural heritage. That it is picked up by one of our finest pianists and by a music company takes responsibility for perpetuating this is exemplary.
This album does not contain great sonatas, or wide-ranging works. Here are small and nice melodic pieces. And that there is quality in the compositions is confirmed – when Edvard Grieg himself was immensely enthusiastic about Elling’s writings.
Rune Alver conveys the music as simply and well as it is intended. So even though the music is well planted in the romance, Alver’s playing is straightforward and simple. Therefore, it is very easy to say thank you to both the musician and the music company!
Norwegian pianist Rune Alver plays this alluring music with deep affection and elegant style, and the sonics are excellent.
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