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Playlist: Folk Music in Art Music

A compilation of contemporary and classical works that are influenced by Norwegian as well as other nations’ traditional folk music

The use of folk music influences in Norwegian contemporary and classical music is a tradition that stretches back through generations of composers. Pioneers in this respect was undoubtedly our great violin virtuoso Ole Bull (1810-1880) and Edvard Grieg (1843-1907). After 400 years under Danish Rule, followed by a union with Sweden, Norwegian artists would focus on Norwegian identity, a campaign that would contribute to the process that led to Norway becoming an independent nation in 1905. The interest for use of Norwegian folk music influences as a basis for contemporary works has remained alive to this day. Not only would composers quote folk tunes in their works, composers such as Harald Sæverud and Øistein Sommerfeldt would write folk music stylistic-themed compositions with their own, original tonal themes. Today, the use of quartertones in traditional Norwegian folk music has become a key focus for composer Lasse Thoresen, who often combines these elements with influences from traditional music of other cultures, perhaps most notably Mongolian over-tone singing.

Below we have compiled a string of contemporary and classical works that are influenced by Norwegian as well as other nations traditional folk music. In chronological order:

• Ole Bull: A Mountain Vision – Annar Follesø. Violin. Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Ole Kristian Ruud, cond.
• Gibøen’s Wedding March – Knut Buen Hardanger fiddle.
• Edvard Grieg: Gibøen’s Wedding March – Einar Steen-Nøkleberg, piano.
• Johan Svendsen: Norwegian Rhapsody No 3 – South Jutland Sympohny Orchestra, Bjarte Engeset, cond.
• Christian Sinding: the Maiden in the Poppy Field (Danish folk song) – Bodil Arnesen, soprano, Erling Ragnar Eriksen, piano.
• Johan Halvorsen: Norwegian Rhapsody No 1 – Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Karsten Andersen, cond.
• David Monrad Johansen: I Vaagelidan – Svein Bjørkøy, tenor, Ivar Anton Waagaard, piano.
• Johan Kvandal: 3 Hymn Tunes: Lover nu Herren – Oslo Wind Ensemble.
• Øistein Sommerfeldt: Tune for the FLute from Spring Tunes – Per Øien, flute.
• Harald Sæverud: Siljuslåtten from Tunes and Dances from Siljutøl – Einar Steen-Nøkleberg, piano.
• Klaus Egge: Phantasy in Halling – Håvard Gimse, piano.
• Eivind Groven: Sun Mood – Tom ottar Anreassen, flute, Rogar Andreassen, organ.
• Geirr Tveitt: Three Fjords – Hardanger Fiddle Concerto No 2: Hardanger Fjord – Arve Moen Bergset, Hardanger fiddle, Stavanger Sympohny Orchestra, Ole Kristian Ruud, cond.
• Arne Nordheim: Drams Many from The Bream Ballad – Grex Vocalis.
• Olav Anton Thommessen: Stabsarabesk – Norwegian Armed Forces Staff Band, Eivind Aadland, cond.
• Lasse Thoresen: Opus 40: Likferdssælmin – Nordic Voices.