NORWEGIAN MUSIC FOR THE PIANO
Every music lover interested in, and with a knowledge of, Norwegian piano literature and pianists should welcome this re-release of Eva Knardahl`s recording from 1981. These music lovers will know that the name, Eva Knardahl, stands for high musical quality both in repertoire and performance. This recording was awarded the, Spellemannprisen in 1982 (“The Norwegian Grammy”), upon release in its original LP format.
This record exclusively features “gems” which, in the 20th century, were played over and over again in private homes and the concert halls in Norway. Today, the repertoire is still well known to Norwegian students of music and established pianists, alike.
Eva Knardahl chose 19 beloved Norwegian pieces of music, and she presented ideal interpretations of them all: Four pieces by Halfdan Kjerulf: “Idyl”, “Berceuse”, “Spring Song”, and “Allegro” (“Fairy Dance”) - compositions which Eva Knardahl had played all her life, and very often in the USA where their inherent “Norwegianism” made them particularly dear. Richard Nordraak´s “Valse Caprice” with its inner emotion was one of Eva Knardahl´s favourites. Agathe Backer-Grøndahl´s “Serenade” and “Summer Song” are just as relevant and vital today as they were 50 years ago. Christian Sinding is represented by two beautiful melodies: “Song without words” and “Serenade”. From the wide piano repertoire of Halfdan Cleve were chosen, two simple pieces which are well suited for this setting, “Pastoral” and “Praeludium”.
As an extra treat: Ole Olsen´s “Serenade” and “Mazurka” – pieces which the six-year-old Eva Knardahl performed in the Festival Hall of the Oslo University. The “Aria” and “A la Gavotte” by Gunnar Gjerström was included in Eva Knardahl´s repertoire after her return from the USA in 1967. The same applies to Sverre Jordan´s compositions “Cradle Song” and “Elegy”.
Klaus Egge, who was Eva Knardahl´s good friend, is represented by “Valse Dolce” and “Water Colour” – his only compositions in this style. “I think they are good”, said Eva Knardahl, who for a long time had wanted to make a recording of them. “I talked to Klaus Egge just before he died, and he was quite enthusiastic about the idea. While the two piano pieces differ considerably from everything else, he wrote. He finally accepted that they were good. “I think this recording will be played over and over again by old and young music lovers. Listening to Eva Knardahl is a wonderful experience.”
Norwegian pianist, Eva Knardahl (1927-2006), was one of Norway´s foremost pianists of the 20th century. She had an expansive repertoire and diverse musical experiences. In 1984 she became the first professor of chamber music at the Norwegian Academy of Music.
Eva Knardahl was born in Oslo in 1927. At age 4 she began piano lessons with Ragnhild Agerup. Later, from 1936 to 1945, her teacher was Mary Barratt-Due. Her final studies were, for a short period, with Ivar Johnsen. She was only six years old at the time of her first public performance, and in her real public debut in 1939, she performed three piano concerts with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra.
This concert was a breakthrough success. The following decade saw great development in Eva Knardahl, with concerts both, in Norway and abroad, including Sweden, Denmark, and France. In 1947, she left Norway for Minneapolis in the USA, where she soon became a part of the city´s musical life. The following year, she was featured as the soloist in both the Grieg Piano Concerto and Klaus Egge´s Piano Concerto No. 2. Critics commented on her “intense intuition” and displaying “extraordinarytechnical skills.”.
For 15 years, Eva Knardahl was the regular pianist and soloist of the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra. She also participated in all kinds of chamber music combinations and was the orchestra´s featured soloist when touringacross Canada, Mexico, and the Far East. She also performed as a soloist with several American orchestras.
In the USA, her collaborations with the pianist, Artur Rubinstein,composer, Igor Stravinsky, and conductors as diverse as Rafael Kubelik, Henry Mancini, and Andre Previn gave great artistic progress.. Later, cooperation with conductors, Sixten Ehrling and Kirill Kondrashin brought success in Europe.
1967 saw Eva Knardahl back in Norway, living in Oslo. She was reintroduced to the Norwegian public in a concert with Oslo Philharmonic playing Alberto Ginastera´s Piano Concerto No. 1. She received an overwhelming reception by the public and critics alike, resulting in numerous concerts with all the Norwegian symphony orchestras, in radio and television, and with the Norwegian State Concerts touring Norway, etc. She now gained for herself a very special place in Norway´s musical life.
Soon, she established working relationships with central Norwegian musicians as Arve Tellefsen, Knut Skram and Edith Thallaug, and later with musicians of the next generation as Truls Mørk and Terje Tønnesen. She also performed with the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Mariss Jansons, and she continued to perform with international artists, such as Robert Merill and Roberta Peters.
During her significant work as Professor of Chamber Music at the Norwegian Academy of Music, she mentored such pupils as Håvard Gimse. She recorded for BIS (Grieg's complete piano music, and more), for Simax (Brahms) and Piano Concertos by Christian Sinding, Edvard Grieg, Klaus Egge and Øistein Sommerfeldt.
Knardahl was warmly received at all her concerts and after a concert at London´s Wigmore Hall, the critic wrote, “Eva Knardahl produced an impression of period elegance, allied to warm humanity which was perfection.” Her understanding of music´s historical significance, combined with warm human empathy was, for many, the embodiment of Eva Knardahl´s art.
In 1967/68, she received the Norwegian Music Critics award, and in 1977, the Music Prize of the Norwegian Council of Cultural Affairs. Both the Lindeman- and Grieg-price were awarded her in 1980. Knardahl was awarded Spellemannprisen (the “Norwegian Grammy”) both in 1982, for “Norwegian Music for the Piano”, and in 1986 for Grieg Sonatas (with Arve Tellefsen, Aage Kvalbein og Jens Harald Bratlie). She was knighted in 1979, in the Norwegian Order of the St. Olav, 1st class.
HALFDAN KJERULF (1815 – 1868)
1. 3 Pieces, Op. 4, II. Idyl (in A Major) /// 3:20
2. 6 Neue Skizzen, Op. 12: V. Berceuse (in D-Flat Major) /// 2:20
3. 6 Skizzen, Op. 28: V. Frühlingslied /// 2:35
4. 4 Pieces, Op. 24: II. Elfentanz (Allegro) (in E Minor) /// 0:45
RICHARD NORDRAAK (1842 – 1866)
5. Valse Caprice /// 2:45
AGATHE BACKER-GRØNDAHL (1847 – 1907)
6. 3 Piano Pieces, Op. 15: I. Serenade /// 2:45
7. 5 Fantasistykker, Op. 45: III. Sommervise /// 2:25
CHRISTIAN SINDING (1856 – 1941)
8. 6 Stücke, Op. 31: V. Chant sans paroles /// 2:35
9. 6 Charakterstücke, Op. 33: IV. Ständchen (Serenade) /// 1:40
HALFDAN CLEVE (1879 – 1951)
10. 7 Piano Pieces, Op. 1: VI. Pastorale /// 1:18
11. 7 Piano Pieces, Op. 1: I. Prelude /// 2:20
OLE OLSEN (1850 – 1927)
12. 3 Morceaux, Op.19: II. Sérénade (in A Major) /// 3:22
13.Petite Suite, Op. 50, II. Mazurka /// 1:30
GUNNAR GJERSTRØM (1891 – 1951)
14. Klaversuite: II. Arie /// 3:30
15. A la Gavotte /// 2:19
SVERRE JORDAN (1889 – 1972)
16. 5 småstykker for klaver, Op. 34: II. Ved Vuggen /// 1:43
17. Ved vuggen, Op. 34: IV. Elegie /// 3:26
KLAUS EGGE (1906 – 1980)
18. Two Piano Pieces, Op. 1: I. Valse Dolce /// 2:49
19. Two Piano Pieces, Op. 1: II. Akvarell /// 2:36