View of the Hardanger fjord and the surrounding montains, seen from the hillside above the Tveit farm (at the outer left side)
The Norwegian composer Geirr Tveitt
Geirr Tveitt (1908-1981) was the most distinctive and productive Norwegian composer of the 20th century. He was also a particularly skilled concert pianist, touring Southern-Europe and North-Africa in the late 40's and early 50's. He also sung, played the harpsichord, conducted, and interviewed and worked as program producer for the many literature programs he created in NRK, Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. This web page tries to keep track of the compositions that exist and those that we know got lost when his farm-house burned down in the fatal fire in 1970. The work list shows which works exist in scores and manuscripts and which that only exists as recordings of concert performances. The discography shows the known album releases of his work, from short songs to large orchestral works. There is an overview of sound recordings made in radio and similar of what exists of television programs. There will also be an overview of interviews, articles, stories etc. in newspapers, books and magazines.
Ongoing update of the web page
Work on rebuilding the website without use of Flash is ongoing. The work has taken longer time than planned. This means that a lot of content is not currently available. Updated content will be informed about on the News folder when published. Please revisit!
The updated webpage will be available in English
After several requests, the updated www.geirrtveitt.com will be available in English. The new pages will be responsive so they easier can be read on tablets and mobile phones.
Ragnhild Hemsing: BRUCH+TVEITT (CD - 2023 Germany)
Ragnhild Hemsing, together with Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Eivind Aadland, has 31th of March 2023 released the album BRUCH+TVEITT. Ragnhild plays both the violin and the Hardanger fiddle as the cover indicate. The works on the album are:
Max Bruch: Violin Concerto in G Minor, Op. 26 (24:23),
1. No. 1 Introduktion. Allegro moderato (8:18),
2. No. 2 Adagio (8:24),
3. No. 3 Finale. Allegro energico (7:39)
Johan Svendsen: Romance for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 26;
4. Romance for Violin and Orchestra (8:57)
Sigurd Lie: Concert Piece for Violin and Orchestra,
5. Concert Piece "Huldra Aa'n Elland" for Violin and Orchestra (8:57),
Geirr Tveitt: Hardanger Fiddle Concerto No. 2, "Three Fjords", Op. 252 (19:34).
6. No.1 Hardangerfjord: Tempo tranquillo e decisio (4:59),
7. No. 2 Sognefjord: Mest maestoso - Danza determinale e lenta - Tempo 1 (5:00)
8. No. 3 Nordfjord: Giocoso (9:45)
Total playing time: 61:14
"Tveitt - Completely unique
Tveitt's concert with the subtitle Tri fjordar (Three Fjords) is undoubtedly the highlight of this release. The work is characterized by Norwegian folklore, not illogical given the choice of solo instrument. This, however, in combination with Tveitt's unmistakable tonal language. In this, Tveitt resembles composers such as Bartók, although the Norwegian's music does not sound as modern as Bartók's. However, it is not late romantic either, but simply: Completely unique (Ein Unikat). It is desirable that both Tveitt and Ragnhild Hemsing find many new friends with this CD."
Thomas Schulz in review of BRUCH+TVEITT 11. April 2023 at www.klassik-heute.de (Karakter 10/10)
"Ragnhild Hemsing's playing on the Hardanger fiddle is incredibly rich in sound, sonorous and rich in resonance; she plays the improvisational passages freely and with great naturalness, as if the music just happened in the blink of an eye".
"A rhythmically punctuated, powerful recording, in many details more concise in the performance of the orchestra than on the BIS recording (Hemsing's playing is spectacularly good and extremely idiomatic anyway), so that one can certainly talk about a new reference here. Fascinating, and for that reason alone it is worth the purchase."
Holger Sambale in review of BRUCH+TVEITT 9. May 2023 at www.the-new-listener.de.
"You feel like you're in a fairyland when Ragnhild Hemsing takes up the Hardanger fiddle played, there are five other strings that only vibrate, like the viola d'amore. The Hardanger fiddle is richly decorated with mother-of-pearl and individual patterns and creates with its silvery sound an adventurous, dreamy atmosphere, especially when the Norwegian composer Geirr Tveitt praises the "Three Fjords" in his concert."
Raliza Nikolov in review of BRUCH+TVEITT 9. April 2023 at www.ndr.de.
"The Hardanger fiddle is used in a dramaturgically appealing way in the large final work, the concerto for Hardanger fiddle and orchestra "Tri fjordar" by Geirr Tveitt. Using elements from Norwegian folk music is not so common among the country's classics, so Tveitt (1908-1981) was one of the few. "
Stephan Pillhofer in review of BRUCH+TVEITT 31. March 2023 at www.orchestergraben.com.
"... But for me it is Tveitt's Hardanger fiddle concerto that is the most interesting. I have sometimes had problems with Tveitt's music. Much of it becomes a bit like folk museum folk music. But in this concert from 1957 (ed. corr. 1965) he hits the mark well. Where Grieg used folk music as melodic raw material, Tveitt goes many steps further. He built an entire scale system and orchestration principle on what he found in the Hardanger fiddle. The piece starts with some completely magical chords, which are unlike anything else I have heard for orchestra. Several times I get the impression that the orchestra functions as an extra set of resonant strings. And Hemsing treats Tveitt's concert in an absolutely brilliant way. She plays out all the drive and power she has, with squiggly ornaments and free-wheeling antics. It is a joy to listen to. Hear especially; Geirr Tveitt: Movement No. 1... Hardanger fiddle concerto No. 2.. "
Ola Nordal in review of BRUCH+TVEITT 31. March 2023 i www.ballade.no.
Ivar Medaas: Trubaduren kommer (CD - 2023 Norway)
Re-issued and remastered version of Ivar Medaas LP from 1965, for the first time on CD. It contains four songs composed by Geirr Tveitt. He also appears on piano on the two last songs. These were taken from the EP: Old Norwegian Folktunes released in 1961 :
1 Veslesyster ondolat er død (Cornelis Vreeswijk);
2 Den arge bonden (Bjarne Amdahl/Alf Prøysen);
3 Sov mitt barn (Idar Medaas/Arnljot Eggen);
4 Lord Lovel (Hartvig Kiran);
5 Spørsmål (Ivar Medaas/Ivar Ringdal);
6 Laustausa Karoline (Petter Tjelle);
7 Vinden si vise (Vidar Medaas/Oddvar Eika);
8 Gunda (Vise frå verklegheita) (Ivar Medaas/Vidar Sandbeck);
9 Fløytelåt (Geirr Tveitt/Jakob Sande);
10 Nissen på Kobbeskjeret (Geirr Tveitt/Jakob Sande);
11 Dyreorkesteret (Geirr Tveitt/Jakob Sande);
12 På Hagarstølen er godt te gjeta (Geirr Tveitt/Jakob Sande);
Total playing time: 27:18
Espen Eriksen & Gunnar Halle: Sangboka (CD - 2022 Noreg)
Espen Eriksen & Gunnar Halle released last year a new instrumental CD called Sangboka (The Songbook). The jazz musicians plays trumpet (Eriksen) and piano (Halle) and have selected 8 songs that was common to most Norwegian people in the last century: "We musicans belong to the last generation that learnt to sing these songs in school. With strong and simple melodies, this music has laid deep tracks in us and forms an important part of our musical expression" they write on the inner cover. The 8 songs on the album are:
1. Mellom bakkar og berg (Ludvig M. Lindemann);
2. Uti vår hage (Trad.);
3. Byssan lull (Trad);
4. Vi skal ikkje sova bort sumarnatta (Geirr Tveitt);
5. Ola Glomstulen (Trad.);
6. Bind deg ein blomekrans (Trad.)
7. Jeg er havren (Aksel Agerby);
8. Blant alle lande (Hans Matthison-Hansen)
" Lovely about our own songbook ... The songbook is an excellent example of how a national treasures should be preserved and continued. Espen Eriksen and Gunnar Halle tell us that they are capable of in a very great way."
Tor Hammerø in review of Sangboka in Nettavisen 18. februar 2022. (Character 5/6)
"There is something about songs you've had with you for life. And it's great when they come back to life.
...In addition, it is nice that there is room for more favorites. The list of songs is like a hit list from several decades. The best thing about the record is that it is done at a consistent high level. There are no easy solutions. It's jazz, and there may be opinions about that, but this is so pleased, encouraging and relaxed that you should give it a chance. Eight songs is just a sufficient duration for this album."
"Tradition has no own value as long as it is not cultivated
...Sangboka s dedicated to eight songs in a benevolent way, in a floating duel with acoustic instruments, supplemented by annotating effects. Large reverb expands the space, electronics and live sampling provide a discrete exterior. Eriksen refers to Jan Johansson's idiom of folk-jazz's simplicity, but also makes his way over to blues and ornamental modern jazz. Halle leads a velvet soft, bound tone in the middle vocal register, selective virtuoso but over-the-top narrative. A songbook with cheerful nostalgia"
Ralf Dombrowski in review of Sangboka in Jazz thing 142 (www.jazzthing.de) 28. februar 2022.
Tord Gustavsen Trio: Opening (SACD - 2022 Germany)
Tord Gustavsen Trio, with Tord Gustavsen on piano, Steinar Raknes on bass and Jarle Vespestad on drums, released the album Opening in the beginning of April. It is published on the renowned label ECM and is produced by Manfred Eicher. The record contains an instrumental version of Geirr Tveitt's Fløytelåt. The melody was written to Jakob Sande's poem with the same title. The norwegian composer Egil Hovland is represented with "Vær sterk, min sjel" (Be strong, my soul). The other tracks are written by Tord Gustavsen, except Findings/Visa från Rättvik" (trad.). The album is available on CD now, but a limited edition LP will be released this autumn.
"Tord Gustavsens piano is singing, and it is this song that elevates the music on his new trio album."
"... Then there is "Fløytelåt/The Flute", which is written by Geirr Tveitt. This is a composition Gustavsen can fill with his own, with Vespestad and Raknes with supporting, dynamic beats."
Arild R. Andersen in review of Opening in Aftenposten 16. April 2022.
"The idea of bring in interpretations of other composers melodies can come suddenly to him. On his previous release; The Other Side (2018) the idea of interpreting Bach-chorals fall into his mind during a rehearsal.
This time it was Geirr Tveitt's "Fløytelåt (Flute Sound")" that came to him, like an afterplay to one of his own tunes.
"- It has a lovely, striking melody. Very lyric, and with a very characteristic twist.
And this even if the melody in many ways is rather plain. This way, says Gustavsen, it functions all over the world. It can come out of all kinds of sceneries, and led into whatever. - In Norway it has an extra depth, as many in their childhood sung this tune. Then one get references in addition to just the melodic part."
Tord Gustavsen interviewed by Aslaug Olette Klausen in the digital magazine Kontekst (www.kontekst.no) 14. April 2022.
Christian Grøvlen: Eventyr (SACD)
The new SACD recording from pianist Christian Grøvlen, called Eventyr (Adventure Fairy-tale) contains a world premiere recording of the tone poem for piano called; Eolsharpa (Aeolian harp). This version is based on the musical notation from 1946. This version is slightly different and longer (16:06) than the one Geirr Tveitt plays himself in 1949, released on the album named: Geirr Tveitt plays Geirr Tveitt (08:37) in 1994. In addition to Eolsharpa, Grøvlen plays Christian Sinding: Sonata, op. 91, Alf Hurum: Wonderland, op. 16 and Edvard Grieg: Ballad, Op. 24. The album is released on the well-reputed label 2L.
"It is Grieg's Ballad and Geirr Tveitt's Eolsharpa that set the standard here..... On the other hand, Geirr Tveitt offers mystery, wonder, not least Eolsharpa (a harp in which the wind strikes the strings) is an illusion, a memory of something Geirr Tveitt had heard: "Since then I have thought of the soft, half-unreal tones, not least in the stormy and dark nights of life... the harp with wings is flying above stormy seas, high above, amongst stairs that shine on harp-strings". Well worth the record alone."
Olav Egil Aune, Vårt Land 12 June 2021
Read about other new record releases here.