Lise Davidsen & Leif Ove Andsnes : Edvard Grieg Review
By: Illiam Sebitz
Pianist Leif Ove and soprano Lise Davidsen are two of Norway’s most celebrated musicians. Together they are releasing Edvard Grieg on the Mecca Music Group label. The program presents the music of Norway’s most famous composer, Edvard Grieg. Davidsen and Leif Ove will be touring the repertoire around Norway, Germany, Spain, Austria, and the UK. The pair recorded the music in the Arctic Circle in Bodø – Lise describes a ‘magical’ time recording this music with a special team in rural Norway. Davidsen says, “I am very aware of the conventions of how it “should” be done and by whom. This project was about listening to the music on our own terms, trying to find our Grieg sound.”
Davidsen and Leif Ove codify that Grieg sound with Grieg’s “Haugtussa” Op. 67. Davidsen’s distinctive qualities as a romance singer are already revealed in the album’s opening work: Grieg’s “Haugtussa” Op. 67 eight songs setting to music the poems from Arne Garborg’s masterpiece about Veslemøy. The song cycle is a highlight of Grieg’s romance writing. “Møte” features colorful harmony expertly balanced by Leif Ove’s touch on the piano as Davidsen’s vocal power translates the melody with passion and subline tone. Greg’s innovative harmonies are adorned with themes that are lyrical and memorable. The two performers amalgamate and convey the beauty of Grieg’s romance.
“En Svane” from Grieg’s 6 Songs, Op. 25, is a tender moment with an intense climax, with Davidsen highlighting her vocal control and sense of drama. The duet flows with an unmistakable quality that draws the listener in over the course of a sophisticated chord progression and tender melody. Leif Ove supports the music with extensive focus, understanding, and reverence. The captivating performance shows the pianist and the vocalist are close communicators. Capturing the diaphanous textures, nuances in phrasing, tempo, timbre, and articulation. The result is unbearably beautiful.
Edvard Grieg is a must-have for Grieg fans and those who appreciate beautiful singing and sensitive accompaniment. Capturing the magic of Norway that is palpable via the recording quality of the Decca label, one will find hours of musical gems as they are swept away in the romance that is Grieg.
Label: Decca Music Group Ltd.
Release Date: January 7, 2022