Music Web International: outstanding; International Record Guide: outstanding.
The Gramophone Classical Music Guide:
The Hardanger fiddle of western Norway probably originated in the mid-17th century, possibly – as Reidar Storaas suggests in his notes – as a hybrid of earlier folk fiddles and the viola d'amore. Its tone is smaller than the violin and, with its four sympathetic strings, sounds not unlike a treble viol. Local boy Geirr Tveitt has produced these two marvellous concertos for the instrument. The First dates from 1955, and its premiere at the Bergen Festival the following year was a triumph for the composer. It isn't hard to hear why: the idiom is Tveitt's best folksy manner, the orchestration expert and bright, with a virtuoso solo part. The opening movement is relatively gentle, succeeded by a wonderfully atmospheric if wistful Andante and a lively finale reminiscent of Malcolm Arnold.
The Second followed ten years later, and replicates the same basic design, yet is a more personal utterance, the structure more concisely realised, the inspiration drawn from the three fjords of his native region. Arve Moen Bergset is a prize-winning folk player and plays with commendable feeling and technical assurance. He's ably supported by Ruud and the splendid Stavanger orchestra, who also provide an excellent performance of The Water Sprite ('Nykken', 1956), a tone-poem relating how the sprite snares a boy by disguising itself as a horse. Beautifully clear as usual from BIS.