Johan Halvorsen: Fossegrimen
FOLK MUSIC IN A CLASSICAL FRAMEWORK
Professor Olav Bø wrote in “Store norske leksikon” (The major Norwegian Encyclopaedia): “Fossegrimen, or Grimen in Norwegian folklore, is a supernatural being that lives by waterfalls and mills and can be seen in different shaped creatures. The Fossegrimen plays his (or her) music in dark and quiet evenings to entice people. Those who, on a Thursday night, bring a sacrifice (a goat, a lamb or a ham) to a waterfall running north, learn to play the fiddle by the Fossegrimen. The better the sacrifice, the better the players become; is the sacrifice poor, they only learn to tune the fiddle. The Fossegrimen is akin to the Nøkken. ”
To Sigurd Eldegard’s play of the same name, Johan Halvorsen wrote the music, and with Hardanger fiddle as the solo instrument, our national instrument came was for the first time brought to the scene with a classical orchestra. This was in 1904. Actor Stein Grieg Halvorsen tells that his father was himself playing the Hardanger Fiddle in the performances at the National Theater. On later occasions, Alfred Maurstad was a soloist in Fossegrimen, and his fiddle playing is still for many to remember, especially because Maurstad could not read music! Sven Nyhus is one of those who since then played the Fossegrims a number of times, the first time in 1978.
The notation of the solo part present in this edition has small changes compared to the original edition. In essence, it is about bow phrases, to bring more of the traditional way of playing the fiddle to the notation. The piano part has been prepared by combining Johan Halvorsen’s scoring for the orchestra, and the original piano reduction. Furthermore, it has been designed to suit a chamber musical collusion between the harbinger fiddle and the piano. The version for hardanger fiddle and piano is recorded on Simax with Åshild Breie Nyhus on hardingfele and Ingfrid Breie Nyhus on piano.
Sven Nyhus and Ingfrid Breie Nyhus
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